ProView – Outdoor Research Blackpowder II Jacket + Pants
Together, Outdoor Research’s BlackPowder II Jacket and Pants make a versatile, feature-filled snowsuit that is ready to tackle a variety of conditions both in the backcountry and at the resort. To test it, I wore it backcountry skiing in weather conditions ranging from 5 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, in resorts ranging from 10 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit with gusting winds, and while helping teach an NSP Avalanche Level I class on Berthoud Pass in snowy, 10 to 20 degree Fahrenheit temperatures.
ProView - Women's Blackpowder II Jacket + Pants
Product Description: Jacket: The perfect companion to the Blackpowder Pants, the new Blackpowder Jacket completes your ski kit with the same weather-resistant durability that holds up to the demands of mountain professionals. Exterior protection and interior insulation pack a one-two punch against heavy precipitation and biting cold, powered by the weather-warding qualities of Pertex® Shield and insulating superpowers of AdrenaLoft™. A ski-specific feature set includes a minimal fixed powder skirt, pit zips for high-exertion turns, and details that trap in warmth like an elastic hem, internal front stormflap, and Thumb Drive™ hook/loop cuff closures. No more hesitating on the drop-in; the Blackpowder Jacket is your ticket to tackling a season full of steep chutes with complete confidence.
Offer price: $250+$300 MSRP
I was pleasantly surprised with the balance this suit provided. I was comfortable temperature-wise wearing it on cold days in the backcountry, but I was also warm enough riding lifts in windy conditions. I’m usually an insulated-snow-pant-wearer at the resort so I was nervous I would freeze in OR’s BlackPowder II pants, but they are incredibly windproof and provided just enough fabric between me and the chair to stay toasty.
- Temperature regulating
- Thoughtful features
- Flattering fit
- Small beacon pocket
- Low visibility color
The fit of this suit is comfortable, flattering and true to size. The jacket had plenty of room for layers without feeling baggy or bulky. When I first pulled the pants on, they felt a little tight on the thighs, but I found I was able to wear leggings underneath or add fleece pants without difficulty. The built-in waist adjustment was a nice feature, too, to keep them snug and in place with varying layers.
Both the jacket and pants have features that were thoughtful and well-implemented. The standard features include vents in the armpits of the jacket and outer thigh of the snow pants – both of which I used numerous times. My only concern with the leg vents is getting enough ventilation on warmer days in the backcountry – if I were to make a design improvement here I would add inner thigh vents as well to help dissipate heat even faster for spring or low-wind days. In addition, both the jacket and pants had a good variety of pockets for stashing my phone, pass, snacks, chapstick, and more, and the jacket has a built-in cord hole for headphones if you enjoy listening to music on the trails. However, one of the biggest design flaws I found was the beacon pocket. OR specifically mentions the beacon pocket in its list of features in the pants, and included a mesh slot and inside clip in the pocket to hold a beacon. While well-intentioned, the depth of the pocket is just enough to fit a Tracker I or Tracker II with no wiggle room, so it is uncomfortable and tight on the thigh while skinning and skiing.
One of my favorite and most surprising features in this set is the Power Strap Loop on the pants that make the power strap on your ski boots both easier to access and keeps snow out by securing your built-in gaiters to your boot. I’m always skinning or taking the lift with my boots pretty loose and cranking up the buckles and strap at the top of the hill. In the past, it’s always been really annoying to have to pull my snow pants all the way up to tighten the power strap and then pull the internal gaiters and bottom of the pants back down each run, but the loop gets rid of this annoyance. I was able to just lift the pants a little, tighten the strap, and they fall right back into place without requiring as much dexterity.
Finally, I was pleasantly surprised with the balance this suit provided. I was comfortable temperature-wise wearing it on cold days in the backcountry, but I was also warm enough riding lifts in windy conditions. I’m usually an insulated-snow-pant-wearer at the resort so I was nervous I would freeze in OR’s BlackPowder II pants, but they are incredibly windproof and provided just enough fabric between me and the chair to stay toasty. I also appreciate the perfectly sized hood to put on over my helmet on breezy lift rides to keep me bundled. As I mentioned earlier I would be wary of the single thigh vents on hot days in the backcountry.
As a note from my friends I hit the trails with, I was both camouflaged in the trees in the backcountry and among large crowds in resort because of the black on black look (the jacket and pants are only available in black and brown) – so a more colorful option, in addition, might appeal to more people and allow for higher visibility.