The Best Ski Pants

When the skiing season arrives and we head for the mountains to enjoy the thrill we’ve spent more than half the year waiting for, that thrill can be seriously diminished if the threads we’re doing our skiing in aren’t up to scratch. In short, whether we’re cross-country skiers, downhill skiers, or all-mountain maniacs, the ski pants we wear are crucial to ensuring our warmth, well-being, and general comfort while out doing our thing on the white stuff. However, like any item of outdoor gear, different ski pants have different attributes and features, failings and flaws, and finding the right pair for your specific needs takes a little more time and effort than most assume. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the top 25 ski pants currently on the market to help you on your way.

We reviewed dozens of pants to identify the very best of the best. We based our assessment on a range of factors, including material, insulation, breathability, waterproofing, versatility, intended use, value for money, fit, and average customer reviews.

Top Pick
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Columbia Bugaboo II Pants

Lightweight, warm, and very reasonably priced, these breathable, waterproof, and insulated hardshell pants are ideal for resort skiers and the occasional trip into the backcountry.

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Having considered a large number of ski pants, we chose the Columbia Bugaboo II Pants as our top pick. These pants do everything you need them to do very well, and, what’s more, at a very palatable price point. In addition to solid waterproofing, the Bugaboo II use 60g of synthetic insulation and boast enough breathability to make them a great choice for both resort skiing and less challenging trips into the backcountry.

The 5 Top-Rated Ski Pants

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallColumbia Bugaboo II Pant4.6
Runner UpSpyder Troublemaker Ski Pants4.7
Best Budget BuyTSLA Rip-Stop Ski Pants4.4
Best Ski BibsFlylow Baker Bib5.0
Best Insulated PantsArctix Mountain Ski Pant
4.1

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Columbia Bugaboo II Pants

After careful consideration, our favorite ski pants currently on the market are the Columbia Bugaboo II Pants. These pants have all the attributes to make them not only your go-to pair of pants for resort skiing, but also enough dialed-in features and performance-oriented characteristics to make them suitable for the odd outing in the backcountry.

What we love most about the Bugaboo II is that they are a true all-rounder and perform well across the board in every desirable feature. From their tough, waterproof-breathable shell and tricot lining to the lightweight Microtemp insulation, adjustable waist tabs, internal leg gaiter, zippered hand pockets, and lower leg snap gussets, this is a pair of pants that ticks all the boxes in need of ticking.

While the Bugaboo II cost almost twice as much as some of the budget models listed below, it’s worth noting that these pants are very durable, hard-wearing, and also cost about half of many top-end backcountry ski pants that offer very similar performance.

Columbia Bugaboo II Key Features:

  • Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable fabrics
  • 40g Microtemp insulation
  • Adjustable waist
  • Zippered hand pockets, internal leg gaiter, lower leg snap gussets

Our Runner Up Pick: Spyder Troublemaker Ski Pants

Runner Up Pick
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Spyder Troublemaker Ski Pants

These incredibly well-made pants aren’t cheap, but offer a step up in terms of breathability, waterproofing, and performance-oriented features compared to their lower-priced competitors.

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$199.00 USD

For optimal performance in both resort and backcountry skiing, you might not have to look any further than the Spyder Troublemaker Ski Pants

Compared to most other pants on our list, these pants represent a significant hike in terms of cost. That, however, shouldn’t put you off. For your extra financial outlay, in the Spyder Troublemaker you’ll be getting a pair of ski pants that outperform the vast majority of their competitors in almost every desirable feature and design characteristic, making them a great choice for long days on manicured resort slopes and more adventurous backcountry outings alike.

Using a lightweight, ultra-thin waterproof-breathable membrane in combination with 40g of Thinsulate 3M insulation and a Spylon hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating, these pants take protection from the elements far more seriously than most of the competition and will keep you dry and warm no matter what the weather’s getting up to or how many tumbles you happen to take.

Other nice touches featured in these pants include adjustable suspenders, an adjustable waist, zippered hand pockets, a bellowed cargo pocket, taped seams, articulated knees, ventilation zippers, scuff guards, and integrated interior gaiters. What more could you ask for?!

Spyder Troublemaker Ski Pants Key Features:

  • 10,000 mm hydrostatic head (waterproof) rating
  • 10,000 g/m2/24h Moisture Vapor Transmission Rating (breathability)
  • 40g Thinsulate 3M insulation
  • Taped seams
  • Zippered hand pockets and bellowed cargo pocket

Best Budget Pick: TSLA Rip-Stop Ski Pants

Best Budget Pick
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TSLA Rip-Stop Ski Pants

Skiers working on a tighter budget will be hard pressed to find a better pant than the TSLA Rip-Stop Ski Pants, which offer reliable, three-layer weather protection, impressive durability, and a handful of very useful features.

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$89.98 USD

Finding a favorably priced pair of ski pants that doesn’t cut too many corners in terms of performance is something of a rarity, but in the TSLA Rip-Stop Ski Pants we believe we have done just that.

These pants use a three-layer construction that comprises a rugged, ripstop shell, a hydrophobic lining, and lightweight synthetic insulation to bring you excellent all-weather performance, warmth, and comfort at a very reasonable price point. The TSLA Ski Pants don’t scrimp on features either, boasting adjustable waist tabs, zippered hand pockets, and an integrated elastic boot gaiter that prevents any of the white stuff sneaking up the leg and allows you to fit the pants tightly over your ski boots to prevent drafts.

All things considered, this a budget-priced pair of pants that will defy all your expectations of the type of quality and performance you can expect when buying at the lower end of the market.

TSLA Rip-Stop Ski Pants Key Features:

    • Three-layer construction
  • Waterproof
  • Rip-stop fabric
  • Adjustable waist tabs
  • Integrated gaiter

Best Ski Bib: Flylow Baker Bib

Best Ski Bib
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Flylow Baker Bib

Offering “bombproof” all-weather protection, race-worthy breathability, and just about the best comfort, durability, and warmth your money can buy, this bib is one for those who are happy to pay a little more in return for near-perfect performance.

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There are ski pants you’d be reasonably happy about setting out in when the weather’s up to a little mischief in the form of strong winds and a little bit of snowfall, then there are others you’d stroll onto the slopes in without so much as a single second thought even when conditions are looking decidedly biblical. The Flylow Baker Bib falls distinctly into this latter class of ski pants.

The bib-style design of the Flylow Baker is the first aspect that makes them perfectly suited to all-weather ski outings by eliminating that often-maligned draft gap between the top of pants and the hem of your jacket. But where these pants really excel is in the sheer quality of their construction. Using a three-layer design that includes 1000-denier Cordura reinforcements on the knees and cuffs, a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish, and a waterproof-breathable lining rated to 20k/20k, this is a bib that can take pretty much anything you, the mountain, or the weather conditions can throw at it.

Features-wise, the Baker Bib scores very highly too, boasting a “kangaroo” pouch in the torso, inner- and outer-thigh vents, zippered hand pockets, sealed seams, articulated knee boxes, and an integrated gaiter, all of which means this bib provides not only outstanding performance but also as much in the way of user-friendly convenience as any other pant or bib we know of.

Flylow Baker Bib Key Features:

  • 20k/20k waterproof-breathable rating
  • 150D nylon with 1000D Cordura inserts
  • DWR coating
  • Thigh vents
  • Taped seams
  • Articulated knee box

Best Insulated Ski Pants: Arctix Mountain Ski Pant

Best Insulated Ski Pants
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Arctix Mountain Ski Pant

With 85 grams of cozy ThermaTech insulation behind a tough, ThermaLock waterproof shell, these lightweight and affordable insulated pants will keep your legs toasty when conditions take a turn for the Arctic.

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$55.00 USD

For skiers keen to provide their legs with a beefier buffer against the frigid conditions they’re sure to encounter in certain skiing locations at certain times of year, the Arctix Mountain Ski Pant may well be just the ski pants you’re looking for.

Using a hearty 85 grams of ThermaTech insulation in combination with a ThermaLock waterproof and wind-resistant shell, these pants are a great choice for any skier who is apt to feel the chill a little more than most or simply wants to make sure their days on the slopes won’t be cut short due to a dose of the chills. In addition to their robust insulation and weather-proofing, these pants also pack a handful of very attractive features, including reinforced 600D inserts at the ankle and cuff, integrated gaiters, adjustment tabs on the waist, zippered pockets, and full side zips.

And we haven’t even gotten to the best bit…

Given that these pants cost not too much more than you can expect to pay for your lunch in most alpine resorts, they also represent excellent value for money.

Arctic Mountain Ski Pant Key Features:

  • 85g of ThermaTech insulation
  • 600D ballistic reinforcements
  • Full side zips
  • Waterproof shell

Who Should Buy Ski Pants

In a few words, whether you’re skiing in the shoulder seasons or the bleak dead of winter, anything other than a pair of purpose made, waterproof ski pants aren’t going to cut it in terms of warmth, weather protection, performance, and overall convenience.

Ski pants are made with particularly hard-wearing, robust materials to deal with the rough and tumble of life on the slopes and the vast majority of models use performance-oriented waterproof-breathable fabrics that offer protection from the elements while ensuring you aren’t getting soaked by the accumulation of perspiration under your pants. Most ski pants also boast a handful of design features that makes them more “dialled-in” to the demands of the skier, including wider ankle openings to accommodate bulky ski boots, integrated gaiters to keep out snow, thigh vents to increase airflow when you’re working up a sweat, zippered pockets, and adjustable waist tabs that provide the flexibility required to accommodate the different types (and sizes) of baselayers used in different conditions.

Top Pick
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Columbia Bugaboo II Pants

Lightweight, warm, and very reasonably priced, these breathable, waterproof, and insulated hardshell pants are ideal for resort skiers and the occasional trip into the backcountry.

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Important Features to Consider

A pair of ski pants should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when choosing your ski pants:

  • Waterproofing. Ski pants generally use some degree of waterproof lining or water-resistant coating in the form of a waterproof-breathable membrane or DWR finish applied to the shell layer of the fabric respectively. Most pants use fabrics with a waterproof (hydrostatic head/HH) rating between 3,000 mm and 25,000 mm. The higher the figure, the more waterproof the pants will be. For very dry and cool conditions (i.e. when the snow is not melting), pants at the lower end of the scale (3k-10k hydrostatic head) will most probably suffice, but in the warmer temps found in most ski areas in spring, we’d recommend using pants with a HH rating in excess of 10k.
  • Breathability. Breathability refers to any garment or fabric’s ability to allow perspiration to wick from the interior to the exterior of the fabric by a process known as Moisture Vapor Transmision. This process is quantified in the Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVRT), which is given in product descriptions as  g/m2/24h (for example, “15,000g/m2/24h”). MVRTs are calculated by measuring how much water (g) seeps through a square meter (m2) of fabric stretched over a water container as vapor over the course of a full day (24h). As with hydrostatic head ratings, the higher the figure, the better the breathability. While breathability might be less of a concern for resort skiers, the more athletic nature of cross-country and backcountry skiing – and, thus, the potential to work up a serious sweat – means that breathability should be top of any prospective buyer’s priority list. Ideally, backcountry skiers should look for ski pants with a breathability rating in excess of 10,000g/m2/24h and as high as 25k/m2/24h for warmer conditions or particularly challenging routes.
  • Material. Beyond waterproofing capacities and breathability, the material used in a pair of ski pants is important for two reasons: ruggedness and durability. Pants that use ripstop materials with a higher denier count (1o0D and upwards) and reinforced inserts in key areas (the knee and ankle) will be able to deal with the usual causes of wear and tear (falls, contact with skis and boots, occasional brushes with tree branches if skiing off-piste) better than lightweight models of pant and, as such, are more likely to stand the test of time and maintain performance in the long run.
  • Insulation. While it may seem obvious to opt for a pair of ski pants with some degree of insulation, most first-time skiers are surprised by how quickly their bodies heat up – and, indeed, overheat – while out on the slopes. If you intend on skiing in resorts in the dead of winter, are more prone to feeling the cold than most, or anticipate spending a long time riding ski lifts between hitting the pistes, then a lightly insulated pair of pants with 30-80g of insulating material may well be necessary, but this, of course, will depend largely upon where you are in the world and the conditions you’ll be skiing in. Backcountry skiers, on the other hand, typically use shell-style pants with little or no insulation because the physical demands and more aerobic nature of backcountry skiing usually mean that shedding excess heat is more of a concern than fending off the cold.
  • Activity type. Ski pants usually fall into two general categories: pants for resort skiing and pants for backcountry skiing. The design characteristics of these two types vary significantly, with resort pants usually built with tough, heavier, waterproof and windproof fabrics, some degree of insulation, and a looser fit to allow for layering underneath the pants. Backcountry ski pants are typically lightweight, use a more athletic fit with some degree of built-in stretch to allow for better mobility and freedom of movement, and place a greater emphasis on breathability than weather protection.
  • Ventilation. Many ski pants – and particularly backcountry models – use zippered ventilation panels in the upper leg to aid breathability. When things start getting a little sticky, this handy little feature offers a quick, simple means of dumping heat and boosting airflow, much like the “pit zips” used in the armpits many shell jackets.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between snow pants and ski pants?

The main difference between ski pants and snow pants is found in the fit. While ski pants usually use a more athletic, slimmer fit to improve aerodynamics, snow pants typically feature a baggier “cut” to allow for a more varied range of motion. Most models of ski pant, moreover, tend to use reinforced fabric around the ankle in order to reduce wear and tear caused by contact with your skis and boots and to protect you lower legs from the sharp edges of your skis. Snow pants, on the other hand, tend to use reinforced inserts in the seat and knees of the pants – the two spots where you’re most likely to need them if you take a fall.

How long should your ski pants be?

As a general rule, your ski pants should be roughly four inches longer than your everyday pants in order to cover your ski boots and prevent snow and drafts from entering between the base of the pants and the top of your boots.

Do ski pants need to be waterproof?

While there are a handful of advanced skiers who will claim that if conditions are very cold and dry, then there’s no need for ski pants to be waterproof as long as your regular pants provide enough insulation, we wouldn’t recommend opting for a pair of pants without some degree of waterproofing it unless you’re 100% sure you won’t be spending any time on your backside after falls (which eliminates roughly 99.9% of us!).

What do you wear under ski pants?

Most skiers wear some form of baselayer under their ski pants. A baselayer not only serves the purpose of providing additional insulation but also wicks perspiration away from your skin and transports it to the exterior of the layer, where it can then evaporate in a process known as Moisture Vapor Transmission (MVT). The most effective baselayers are breathable synthetics (such as Patagonia’s Capilene or Helly Hansen’s Lifa) or high-wicking natural fabrics like merino wool. Baselayer pants are generally found in two lengths: full-length and 3/4-length. For skiers, the 3/4-length models work best as their shorter length means the material isn’t either bunched up above  or tucked inside the top of your ski boots, both of which can lead to discomfort and chafing after just a short time on the slopes.

Other Ski Boots We Reviewed

Top Pick
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Columbia Bugaboo II Pants

Lightweight, warm, and very reasonably priced, these breathable, waterproof, and insulated hardshell pants are ideal for resort skiers and the occasional trip into the backcountry.

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We looked at 20 other pairs of ski pants. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best ski pants list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your skiing adventures. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Budget Ski Pants

Clothin Softshell Ski Pants

Clothin Softshell Ski Pants

These very reasonably priced, lightweight ski pants use a thin fleece lining and a DWR-treated softshell exterior to provide the perfect balance between warmth, weather resistance, and mobility.

Key Features:

  • Micro-fleece lining
  • DWR treated
  • Articulated knees
  • Softshell exterior

Cost: $43.99

FREE SOLDIER Softshell Ski Pants

FREE SOLDIER Softshell Ski Pants

With a lightweight polar fleece lining and stretchy softshell exterior, these ski pants are ideal for spring outings and those who prioritize mobility and breathability over weather protection.

Key Features:

  • High-wicking fabric
  • Polar fleece lining
  • DWR treated

Cost: $38.99

Gash Hao Softshell Ski Pants

Gash Hao Softshell Ski Pants

These lightweight softshell ski pants offer plenty of mobility and enough weather-resistance for recreational resort skiers looking to maximize comfort and minimize cost.

Key Features:

  • Water-resistant fabric
  • Fleece lining
  • Lightweight
  • Ventilation zippers in thigh

Cost: $38.99

Arctix Cargo Snow Pants

Arctix Cargo Snow Pants

Marketed as snow pants by the manufacturer, the Arctix Cargo boast all the features required to make them an equally good choice for resort skiers looking for a more relaxed fit and enhanced mobility.

Key Features:

  • Three-layered construction
  • 85 grams of ThermaTech insulation
  • 600D reinforcements in the ankle and hem
  • 3k hydrostatic head rating

Cost: $44.75

Singbring Ski Pants

Singbring Ski Pants

These very stylish ski pants have a lot more going for them than their looks alone, including a lightweight fleece lining, zippered hand-warmer pockets, reinforced knee inserts, a softshell exterior, and a DWR finish.

Key Features:

  • Water resistant
  • Fleece lining
  • Elasticated waist
  • Softshell exterior

Cost: $36.99

MAGCOMSEN Softshell Ski Pants

MAGCOMSEN Softshell Ski Pants

These superbly comfortable and functional pants boast many of the features you’d expect to find in far pricier models of ski pant, including ripstop materials, solid weatherproofing, ventilation zips in the thigh, and durable softshell fabric.

Key Features:

  • Ripstop materials
  • Elasticated waist
  • Windproof and waterproof

Cost: $36.98

Ivnfout Ski Pants

Ivnfout Ski Pants

Breathable, water resistant, lightweight, quick-drying, and superbly comfortable, these pants tick all the boxes that need ticking for the springtime resort skier and backcountry adventurer alike.

Key Features:

  • Breathable softshell fabric
  • Fleece lining
  • 3 zippered pockets
  • Reinforced knee inserts

Cost: $32.99

Ski Bibs

Columbia Haskill Mountain Ski Bib

Columbia Haskill Mountain Ski Bib

A superbly warm and high-performing bib that uses OmniHeat and OmniTech technology to provide the ultimate in all-weather protection.

Key Features:

  • Gore-Tex waterproof-breathable membrane
  • OmniHeat technology reflects body heat
  • Front and rear pockets with zippered closures

Cost: $97.98

Volcom GTX Snow Pant

Volcom GTX Snow Pant

You might have to take out a small bank loan to buy a pair, but it will be well worth it! These pants use a 2-layer Gore-Tex construction with a laminate shell, v-science breathable lining system, and fully taped seams to deliver virtually peerless weather protection and overall performance.

Key Features:

  • Gore-Tex membrane
  • Bluesign-approved fabrics
  • Laminate shell
  • Breathable lining

Cost: $390

Arctix Avalanche Bib

Arctix Avalanche Bib

This very well-made bib offers excellent performance and protection from the elements at a fraction of the price of most of its competitors in the ski bib market. A great choice of bib for those working on a tighter budget.

Key Features:

  • 85 grams of ThermaTech insulation
  • Waterproof
  • High-wicking, breathable lining

Cost: $79.99

Arctix Men’s Essential Bib Overall

Arctix Men's Essential Bib Overall

This very favorably priced ski bib offers impressive weather protection, warmth, durability, and many of the features you’d expect to find only in far more expensive models of ski bib.

Key Features:

  • 85 grams of ThermaTech insulation
  • 600D reinforcements in ankle and hem
  • Elastic side gussets
  • Baggier fit than Arctix Avalanche Bib

Cost: $42

Swiss Alps Insulated Ski Bib

Swiss Alps Insulated Ski Bib 

With lightweight, high-density insulation, a water-resistant shell, and a handful of performance-oriented features, this very affordable ski bib is a good choice for resort skiers and beginners looking to try their hand on the slopes before splashing out on more expensive gear.

Key Features:

  •  Insulated
  • Water resistant
  • Articulated knees
  • Integrated gaiters

Cost: $39.99

White Sierra Men’s Toboggan Insulated Bib

White Sierra Men's Toboggan Insulated Bib

With 120 grams of synthetic insulation, waterproof shell fabric, integrated gaiters, a reinforced scuff guard, and articulated knees, this bib ticks all the boxes for the resort skier hitting the slopes in cooler conditions.

Key Features:

  • Waterproof shell fabric
  • 120 grams of polyfill insulation
  • Articulated knees
  • Integrated gaiter

Cost: $34.86

HJC Extreme Ski Bib

HJC Extreme Ski Bib

Using a tough, waterproof-breathable nylon outer shell in combination with Thermolite padded insulation, this bib is ideal for those doing their skiing in colder climes or the dead of winter.

Key Features: 

  • Thermolite padded insulation
  • Waterproof-breathable shell
  • Reinforced fabric on knee and seat
  • Waterproof pockets

Cost: $134.99

Insulated Ski Pants

Columbia Arctic Trip Ski Pants

Columbia Arctic Trip Ski Pants

When temps get really low, these incredibly robust waterproof pants pack all the insulation you need to stay warm all day long.

Key Features:

  • Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable fabric
  • Sealed seams
  • Thigh ventilation zippers

Cost: $84.94

Outdoor Research Blackpowder Pants

Outdoor Research Blackpowder Pants

These exceptionally burly pants are designed to provide the maximum insulation, durability, and weather protection without compromising on mobility. A serious pant for the serious skier.

Key Features:

  • 200 denier Pretext Shield+ fabric
  • 100% polyester tricot lining
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Taped seams

Cost:$250

SPYDER Sentinel Gore-Tex Pant

SPYDER Sentinel Gore-Tex Pant

With 40 grams of 3M Thinsulate insulation, a waterproof-breathable Gore-Tex membrane, laminate shell, and a DWR finish, these pants are built to deal with the very worst the weather can throw at you.

Key Features:

  • Gore-Tex membrane
  • 40g 3M Thinsulate insulation
  • Articulated knee
  • Taped seams

Cost: $249

White Sierra Toboggan Insulated Pant

White Sierra Toboggan Insulated Pant

The shorter sibling of the bib version featured above, the Toboggan Insulated Pant offers solid weather protection, beefy insulation, and a full complement of performance-enhancing features at a very reasonable price point.

Key Features:

  • Waterproof fabric
  • 120 grams of polyfill insulation
  • Articulated knees
  • Integrated gaiters

Cost: $45.53

Helly Hansen Legendary Pant

Helly Hansen Legendary Pant

This fantastically well-made pant uses Primaloft insulation in combination with Helly Tech Performance Fabric to provide almost peerless waterproofing, breathability, warmth, and comfort.

Key Features:

  • Primaloft insulation
  • Waterproof-breathable fabric
  • Ventilation zippers in thigh
  • DWR finish

Cost: $100

Arctix Essential Snow Pants

Arctix Essential Snow Pants

Boasting a hearty 85 grams of ThermaTech insulation, a high-wicking liner, and a tough, water-resistant shell, these very affordable pants offer all-weather performance comparable to many models of ski pant that will set you back twice as much.

Key Features:

  • 85 of ThermaTech insulation
  • Water-resistant shell
  • Reinforced ankle, scuff, and hem guards
  • Integrated gaiter

Cost: $42

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