The great equalizer on the slopes? Everyone falls. Whether you're a stiff-kneed novice trying to make it down your first descent, or a veteran carver confident with everything from black diamonds to backside 180s, an imprint of your ass will sooner or later end up in the snow. G-Form Crash Shorts soften some of the inevitable blow. Five built-in pads protect the hips, thighs, and tailbone with a high tech composite that remains soft and pliable due to the microscopic air pockets in the porous material.

During impact, when the air tries to unsuccessfully escape the material at once, the material stiffens, slowly releasing the trapped air and dissipating the energy. The result: Less pain, more gain (the company claims the shorts absorb 90 percent of impacts). We loved the fact that Crash Shorts protected one beginner tester's previously bruised tailbone from re-injury during many falls on rock-hard snow and that we had an added layer of protection when going off piste to attempt some new maneuvers in the terrain park during thin cover days . The shorts are breathable and covert; pulling on a pair is like wearing a helmet: a confidence-building no-brainer. [$110; g-form.com]