How To Launder Ski And Snowboard Pants

Posted by Maggie on September 10, 2012

Nikwax is a must. (techwash)

I’ll admit it – I kind of like doing laundry.  Now before you call out the mental health professionals, hear me out.  For me, there is an obvious satisfaction of a job well done when you are putting away a stack of clean clothes.  It is so much more gratifying to me than some other household chores I can’t stand, namely mopping and dusting.

So imagine my horror when we were on a recent trip to Park City, UT, and the washing machine ate my son’s snowboard pants.  Picture the dog ate my homework, only substitute snowboard pants.  Ok, so I might have overloaded the machine a bit.  I had a lot of laundry and it was a small condo washer/dryer combo.  

These were the only pair of snowboard pants that fit my son Andrew, so I was stuck buying a new pair.  The next morning, we arrived at the Park City Mountain Resort base area early so we could replace the pants and Andrew could “ride PC” that day.   There are several shops in the base area so I knew we would be fine. 

We first checked Legacy Sports in the Legacy lodge, but while they had a vast selection, there wasn’t much to fit Andrew in my price range.  Next we checked Max’s Snowboard shop.  The clerk was very helpful in finding pants to fit Andrew that were on sale.   When I explained why we were buying the new pants, the clerk appeared surprised.   With all the tact and diplomacy of Donald Trump he exclaimed, “You’re not supposed to wash snowboard pants!!!”

He went on to explain that snowboard pants lose their waterproofing with machine washing in regular detergent.  If snowboard pants become soiled, you can spot clean them with water and mild soap.  If more extensive cleaning is necessary, there are special products that are recommended to launder the pants without stripping away the waterproofing.   Tech Wash is one brand I found at the Jans store in the base area at Park City Mountain Resort.

In our Volcom brand snowboard pants, the laundry care label instructs to wash in cold water with mild detergent, and dry on low temperatures.  Once clean, the pants will need to be retreated with spray on water repellent. 

So let me save you some of the misery and expense I experienced.  Snowboard and ski pants only need to be laundered if they become heavily soiled, or maybe once at the end of the season if you are compulsive like me.  If you decide to machine wash, use cold water and mild soap.  Don’t overfill the washing machine.  Dry in the dryer on low heat or better yet, hang to dry.  Retreat with spray on water repellent.  With proper care, your winter sports pants should last for many seasons.  In the case of your kids, they will most likely grow out of them first, and hopefully you can hand them down to a sibling or friend for more seasons of fun at Park City Mountain Resort.


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Comment posted by Pete Stoughton on December 17, 2012 11:46 AM MST

Here is a great video detailing how to wash/care for GORE-Tex gear.

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Comment posted by Dana Caffrey on November 29, 2012 7:17 AM MST

This is a great article! Thanks for sharing this, I now have an idea how to clean my sons snowboard pants. I really need this infor coz I almost "killed" his pants one lanudry time.

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Comment posted by Kristen on September 10, 2012 6:51 PM MDT

Another question to ask....does the condo you are staying in have an He washer without an agitator! My friends who are ski instrcutors never put anything in the dryer, and never use fabric softener either.

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Comment posted by Catherine on September 10, 2012 2:41 PM MDT

Well ... sort of. First of all, it was the agitator in the washer that killed your son's pants-avoid them at all costs. Second, that clerk was completely wrong (unless you're talking about really cheap, low-quality stuff). It is OK to wash snowboard pants, because the DWR (durable water-repellent coating) on them won't work as well if they're dirty and greasy. When that happens, the waterproof breathable laminate inside stops working, too. They just need to be washed in a washer without an agitator, with detergent that won't clog the pores of the laminate. Then you can run it through the washer again (before drying) with something like the Nikwax treatment you showed in the photo. Once dry, the pants will work better than ever because the little 'hairs' on the fabric that make water bead up and roll off will be clean and standing at attention again!

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