Backcountry skiing and snowboarding kits are built to go further. This post is part of our Going Deeper Series.
Ski season is just around the corner, and it’s bound to look a little different this year. With restrictions and reservation systems becoming the new normal, some of us who’ve spent seasons enjoying inbound laps might be more likely to venture out of bounds - some for the first time. Rest assured that wherever you range, we have the range of snow kits to fit your needs. From what you ski - resort laps, casual tours, ski mountaineering and splitboarding - to where you ski - cold dry Rockies, wet PNW, cold and icy East Coast - these kits keep you warm, dry, and let you vent when you’re headed uphill. Find your best fit for the resort or backcountry with our collection of ski kits below.
And remember: There’s no substitute for an avalanche education class. Click here to learn how you can attend an AIARE near you to get the certification you need to be safe outside this winter.
[Stay tuned for more info and stories in the Going Deeper series: An Introduction to Backcountry Safety with Paul Diegel of the Utah Avalanche Center, a Backcountry Skiing and Splitboarding Safety Q&A with AMGA Certified Ski Guide and OR Ambassador Jessica Baker and a list of Backcountry Safety Resources.]
Ready for Anything
These snow kits are built to layer and adapt to whatever conditions you have in store - both in the resort or in the backcountry. Built for the winter enthusiast who does it all, kits like the Carbide and the Tungsten are your best bet for flexing between in and out of bounds with ski- and ride-specific features, and backcountry-ready protection.
The release of our Carbide Kit is the most exciting collaboration of the season. Introducing Outdoor Research x Arcade®: Combining forces for the very best 3-layer waterproof protection in a versatile, stretchy, low bulk and stylish package for the backcountry and beyond.
Both the Carbide Jacket and Bibs let you layer and adapt to whatever conditions have in store - either inbounds or outbounds. Built for the winter enthusiast who doesn’t want to choose between a resort or a backcountry season, the Carbide Kit is your best bet for flexing between both with ski and snowboard specific features and backcountry-ready protection. The Bibs use Arcade’s durable stretch webbing in its suspender straps, featuring artwork from the Warli Tribe in India.
The Carbide Sensor Gloves and Mitts also use Arcade’s sturdy and stretchy fabric as an elastic wrinch cinch, making it easier than ever to tighten up your handwear and move along in stride. Learn more about our favorite collab right here.
Trusted GORE-TEX waterproof protection and durable VerticalX™ warmth complete this package for cold, stormy days. Wear this kit when you want to bundle up for freezing cold backcountry days, or bundle up with other layers to stay warm on the chairlift. The Tungsten can go both ways.
Both pairs are purpose-built for boarders and skiers alike. The Tungsten Jacket has dialed snow features like a powder skirt, forearm ski pass pocket, and helmet-compatible hood. The Tungsten Pants on the other hand, have an avalanche beacon pocket with clip, inner thigh vents for breathability uphill, and an internal gaiter with a power strap slot.
Unlike the cultured comforts of the resort, when you’re touring you’re left to your own devices of getting yourself uphill in order to enjoy the downhills. That means a lot of work - and a lot of sweat.
The award-winning and best-selling Skyward and Hemispheres kits are renowned for their breathable waterproof comfort during ski and splitboard tours that require hard work uphill. Infused with cutting-edge fabric technologies, these kits give you just what you need and nothing you don’t for long days in the backcountry.
Winner of POWDER Magazine's first ever Apparel of the Year Award, the Hemispheres Kit is the earth-shatteringly stretchy GORE-TEX, bomber all-weather protection for harsh days in the backcountry.
Inspired, designed, and tested by the OR Ambassador team, the Hemispheres Jacket and Bibs is loaded with backcountry-specific features that is guaranteed to enhance your time out there. The jacket is complete with TorsoFlo hem-to-pit venting, a helmet-compatible hood, and hip pockets that don’t interfere with your harness or backpack belt. The bibs have a handy back hatch that easily opens when nature calls, the pant legs have reinforced scuff guards, and the back, knees, and crotch are paneled with extra stretchy fabric for when movement is key.
These feature-loaded AscentShell™ ski jackets and pants were built for lightweight breathable waterproof comfort during ski tours that require hard work uphill. The magic of this kit lies in its electrospun membrane: A 3-layer construction that breathes faster, weighs less, stretches more, and far surpasses the comfort of traditional waterproof ski kits. You can dive into the science behind AscentShell technology right here.
Aside from its build, the Skyward II Jacket and Bibs are chock full of backcountry-specific features like an avalanche beacon pocket with clip, internal gaiter with a power strap slot, scuff guards, and of course, a helmet-compatible hood.
Resort and Inbounds
The warmest and most comfortable snow kits of the collection, outerwear like the Blackpowder and Tungsten breathe when you bomb downhill, and hold onto precious heat when you’re sitting on the chairlift for the next lap. When you’re focusing on repeating laps over and over, retaining that warmth is crucial - which is why both of these choices are our only snow kits padded with VerticalX™ insulation. Cold and stormy days are no match for these packages of weather protection and insulating warmth.
Don’t forget to accessorize: This year, many resorts are requiring skiers to wear a face covering from the moment they step onto the resort. If you’re looking for a two-in-one solution to staying warm, check out our Essential Lightweight Ubertube and Essential Midweight Balaclava for protective accessories that are complete with a filter that filters 95% of virus, bacteria, and particles for your safety, as well as the safety of others around you.
The Blackpowder Kit has been around for years, in part for its one-two punch of exterior weather protection and interior insulating warmth. Its ski-specific feature set includes a fixed powder skirt for the biggest pow days, pit zips for high-exertion turns, and details that trap in warmth like an elastic hem, internal front storm flap, and Thumb Drive™ hook/loop cuff closures. No more hesitating on the drop-in; the Blackpowder Kit is your ticket to tackling a season full of steep chutes with complete confidence.
We already covered the brand new Tungsten Kit above, but here we really want to hit on just how powerful this VerticalX technology is. This OR-owned insulation has a superior warmth-to-weight ratio that blows other synthetics out of the park, but the real magic is in its breathability and moisture management properties. Even after you build up a sweat on the downhill, VerticalX speeds up your body’s moisture transfer so that you’ll still be warm when you’re stagnant on the chairlift, ready for the next lap. Learn more about VerticalX right here.