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The past few months we have been working with a number of incredible women to fit test the Ponderosa Pants - a process that includes taking measurements, wearing the pants, and getting feedback on their fit, style, and function. We’ve had the honor of introducing you to some of these women, and this week are highlighting two more in our Meet the Fit Testers Series. It is our great pleasure to introduce you to Kristine and Polina.

Who They Are:
Kristine currently lives in California but is originally from Quebec, Canada where she worked in the army. For a long time, her work consisted of being flown into remote regions in Canada to work with small, indigenous communities, and it was of the utmost importance that the gear that she took with her was of top quality and functional. No stranger to long trips in the wilderness, there’s no better word to describe her than badass, and this experience makes her an ideal fit tester for the Ponderosa Pant! 

Polina was born in the former USSR and was raised on the East Coast before relocating to San Francisco. She currently works as a software engineer for a non-profit that specializes in education. She and another one of our fit testers have known each other for a number of years and have often talked about the need for a company that makes hiking pants for plus size women that are functionally and truly fit. An active hiker and cyclist, Polina often takes advantage of the accessible nature right outside (and inside!) the city limits. 

Kristine stands with Alpine Parrot Founder and CEO, Raquel.Kristine stands with Alpine Parrot Founder and CEO, Raquel, for a selfie while fit testing (a tradition). 

What Kind of Activities Do they Like to Do?
After years of working in the army, where long hikes and camping were a part of her work, Kristine is rediscovering her love for such activities without the pressures of her job. Day hikes are her favorite, especially for the solitude and peace that they provide. Especially during the COVID era, she looks forward to getting away from the crowds, listening to the crunch of her footprints, and taking in the smell of nature. 

As mentioned earlier, Polina greatly enjoys hiking and cycling - both of which she is able to easily do right near her home in San Francisco. Whether it's trekking to Mount Tam, going to the coast, or exploring other places that the Bay Area has to offer, being outside in nature is where she is able to find perspective, as well as energy and excitement. She also loves live music and is eagerly awaiting the day concerts resume (aren’t we all?!). 

What Excites Them About the Ponderosa Pants:
When asked about the Ponderosa Pants, Kristine mentioned something that has been highlighted by many of our fit testers: their comfort and pockets, as well as their versatility. Her experience working in the army taught her the value of gear that is functional, and she prefers pants with pockets and durable material to leggings. She mentioned that the pockets of the Ponderosa Pants were SO roomy she actually lost her phone in them for a moment - it’s not often women have pocket space to spare! She also appreciated that the pants seemed to become more comfortable as she wore them, without riding up or down. To her they felt like more than just hiking pants - the material and fit felt versatile enough that she would be comfortable wearing them for her work, traveling, or even to a museum.

Polina touched on a very different matter when asked what she excited her about the Ponderosa Pants, and it’s one that we at Alpine Parrot hope all women can experience. Polina noted that, as a plus-sized woman, she had stopped asking for what she really wanted in pants and had begun to settle for what “worked.” Fit testing the Ponderosa Pant made her realize that she can, and deserves, to ask for more from her pants. She doesn’t need pants that just meet the bare minimum, but that actually function and provide her with what she needs. She hopes the Ponderosa Pants deliver, and so do we!

Polina joins Raquel for a social-distanced selfie during her fit testing session. 

She also noted that women are constantly taught to think of their bodies as “good” or “bad,” instead of celebrating the incredible vessel that they are. She felt as if the Ponderosa Pants are allowing women to no longer focus on whether or not they fit into conventional standards, but are instead removing the barriers that sometimes keep women from getting outside and using their bodies to explore and enjoy the outdoors. 

Final Thoughts:
For Kristine, the fit testing process made her realize that these pants have the potential to be so much more than just pants; they are a gateway to a community of like-minded women as well as an opportunity to invest in an article of clothing that is meant to last you for a long time - not just work a couple of times and tossed. She has really enjoyed being involved not only in the fit testing process but also some of the behind-the-scenes decisions like helping to name our different fit styles (stay tuned for more on that, soon!). 

Polina’s mother had taught her some of the basics of measurements and sewing prior to her fit testing experience, so for her, it was special to be able to apply her knowledge to her discussion of the Ponderosa Pants. She specifically enjoyed talking over the design of certain aspects of the pants such as the cut and flare of the pants, as well as the buttons, zippers, and stitching. She also found it unique to see how Raquel has tackled the Ponderosa Pants as an engineering problem. This perspective has taken the notion of “you don’t fit into these pants and that’s the problem,” and flipped the conversation to “how do we design a product that meets your needs.”

Neither of these women have ever been a fit tester before, and we are so grateful that they agreed to be a part of the Alpine Parrot fit testing team! The input and feedback they have both given have been invaluable, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. 

Read more of our Meet the Fit Testers Series, here