Finding good outerwear as a female snowboarder is a challenge. I should know – as a long-time journalist, marketer and occasional PR girl, I’ve had the opportunity to try tons of different pants and jacket combos over the years. They generally fall into one of two categories: technical but kind of ugly, or cute as hell but total garbage.
The trendy brands make stuff that looks awesome. The colorways are on point and the prints get compliments in the lift lines. But it never fails that the zippers break as soon as the temperature drops, the velcro enclosures only work until the first snow storm, or the wrist cuffs are too small to fit over mittens that are specifically made to go under wrist cuffs. And don’t even get me started about worthless pockets…
So, when I was offered a Snowcrew kit from Outdoor Research to review, I said yes, obviously, but prepared myself for another season of disappointment.
I love bright colors, so the coral pink pants were an easy choice, but I was torn between the White/Blue jacket and the Teal/Blue jacket, finally deciding I was ready for a white jacket because I am much more mature now that I’m 40 and could handle the responsibility. I studied the size charts carefully and decided I was a size large in pants and jacket, then placed the order.
When the gear arrived a couple months later, something unexpected had happened. I’d managed to lose 30 pounds or so, and the pants and jacket both draped off me like the outfit I wore in 1994, that was literally hand-me-downs from my dad. (It was the style, ok!) But despite their oversized-nature, they were light and I figured that’s what belts and elastic sinches are for. I rolled and tightened the best I could and headed out for a couple afternoon runs on a pre-season day. Halfway to the lift, I realized I had a real problem. My pass was inconveniently located in my other jacket, sitting at home.Luckily, my tardy arrival that day aligned perfectly with the conclusion of an old friend’s day, and I solved my problem with a parking lot beer and standing fashion review. As I stood on the frozen dirt, discussing the past few months’ events, I found myself holding the pants up in a way I knew that after a few days of actual snowboarding, I’d be retrieving them from around my ankles with every turn. Since I was yet to cover them in mud (inevitable when you retrieve gear from a car driven to and from the mountain) I figured I’d better see about the PR agency’s exchange policy before I tried again.
The sweet rep who’d hooked me up initially said, “No problem, I’ll send you a medium!” and within a week, the proper size mediums had arrived.
Hopefully I haven’t lost you with this long-winded intro, because here’s where we get to the actual review of the OR Women’s Snowcrew pants and jacket. I’ve now used this kit for over 75 days (at least two runs each), in weather ranging from warm and sunny, to raining, to well-below-zero with classic-ice-coast windchill. I haven’t gotten wet, and with proper layering, I’m not cold either. It really is light, breathable, waterproof and all the other buzzwords outerwear marketing people love.
My favorite part of the pants are the deep-ass pockets, which not only easily fit a 12 oz beer, but also my keys, lighter leash and rarely-used Epic Pass (low enough down that I can proceed through the scanners at Killington without it being read.) And on days I’ve forgotten to zip them (hey, it happens!) none of these items have fallen out.
If I had to complain about anything, I wish the zippers pulled down, not up to close, but it’s a small price to pay for gear that actually functions as it should, and is yet to rip or break. After all my years of outfit changes, I’m willing to say, The OR Snowcrew very well might be the best outerwear I’ve ever had.
However, white will still get dirty… no matter how mature you are.