“Designed By Adventure.” At Outdoor Research, our products have been designed by adventure for more than 30 years, with features and fabrics imagined, tested and perfected in the wild. And like our products, our lives and the lives of our customers are sculpted by the experiences we have in the natural, unpredictable environments we love. We, too, are Designed By Adventure.
Packing for a day on the slopes, whether you’re earning your turns or buying them, always boils down to a shell game. Do you want hardshell protection for driving winds or melting snow, or soft shell comfort, trusting the precision of a fickle forecast? Decisions be damned with the White Room Jacket and White Room Pants. These babies are built to deliver waterproof, hard shell protection with easy-moving soft shell comfort, letting you confidently grab one jacket, all winter long.
Zack Giffin — an Outdoor Research Ski Ambassador who recently starred in Sweetgrass Productions’ Valhalla ski film, had his picture on the cover of Powder Magazine and was once called one of Washington’s “Alpine Icons” by Ski Washington Magazine — tested the White Room Jacket in almost every winter climate last season: “From wet coastal zones of Washington State, to brutally cold high alpine environments in Montana and British Columbia, the White Room performed like the jacket I’ve been wanting for years,” says Giffin.
A Colorado native, Giffin moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2003 with his brother to pursue their love of filmmaking. Most recently, he assumed winter residence in the Outdoor Research Tiny House, figuratively and literally chasing the dream of winter storms and endless turns.
“My initial impression of the White Room was that it struck a great balance between stretch and weight,” says Giffin. “Because of the flexibility of the material, it is really similar to a soft shell jacket, but it provides the waterproof performance of a super-breathable hard shell.”
This idea, of a hard shell protection and soft shell comfort, was an inspiration behind the White Room pieces.
“We wanted a fully functional ski jacket,” said Melanie Sirirot, Outdoor Research Apparel Product Manager. “It had to have the comfort of soft shell and performance of GORE-TEX®.”
GORE-TEX®, of course, is the undisputed leader in the waterproof/breathable fabric game. But rather than its standard hard shell application, the GORE-TEX® of the White Room is a bit different: “The face is 92 percent nylon/ 8 percent spandex so it has a good amount of stretch,” says Sirirot.
The result is a hard shell that feels soft and moves easily with you. To further increase the comfort level, the inside of the jacket provides wicking comfort and warmth, with a highly brushed polyester knit backing to the shell giving the feel of a soft flannel. Softer and more comfortable than a traditional three-layer hard shell backing, The White Room’s lining boosts warmth, comfort and helps keep you drier, all with very little weight.
To make it even more useful across a spectrum of situations and conditions, the design team held back in some areas. For example, they didn’t add any insulation, providing two benefits. First, it cuts unnecessary weight. Second, you can layer under it, which allows versatility. However as Giffin notes, it is warmer than a standard shell.
“For many years I’ve tested jackets that are either too heavy because of unnecessarily thick insulation or they are just a shell and rely too much on the warmth of a mid layer,” he says. For him, the White Room strikes the right balance for a wide range of conditions and activity levels, a range you’re likely to see on any multi-day ski tour.
“With the White Room I am able to wear a thin base layer with the jacket and it’s perfect for 90 percent of my ski days,” says Giffin. “I keep a lightweight down or synthetic mid layer in my pack for the remaining 10 percent, but I rarely take it out.”
One of the things that really sold Giffin on the White Room is that versatility.
“The White Room sheds water yet still gives you stretch for a comfortable day of exercise,” he says. “If you do get soaked, it will dry much more quickly than a soft shell and won’t add much weight in your pack.”
Sirirot explains more: “People can leave the White Room Jacket on, with the CrossFlo™ vents open, while boot packing or for a short skin.” And, she notes, “It has everything skiers need — big pockets, a powder skirt, RECCO® reflectors, and RFID pass pocket.” It also features a few other Outdoor Research innovations like the LockDown™ system that integrates the powder skirt with pant belt lopps to seal out the elements, and ThumbDrive™ wrist closures. These Velcro™ closures can be used traditionally, around the wrist, or run between thumb and forefinger, and then back to the cuff to keep sleeves from riding up, assuring a reliable seal on epic days when you really do get to enter the white room.
Says Giffin, the overall design of the jacket is just what he needs: “Pockets where you need them and easily accessible vent zips that follow the contour of my pack’s shoulder straps.”
The White Room Jacket has become Giffin’s go-to hard shell.
“If I were to go on a multiday winter traverse, I may consider a lighter option, but for an all-around high-performance ski jacket, the White Room strikes the perfect balance.”
Shop the White Room Jacket and White Room Pants now.