Depending on who you ask, the winter months are our favorite time of the year at Outdoor Research. We started this brand by making gear that excels in cold, snowy environments, and we continue to hang our hat on building elite outdoor apparel that can withstand the harshest weather Mother Nature has to offer.

With snow season fast approaching, we asked our athletes to tell us a little about their favorite Outdoor Research gear to wear while skiing and riding. Their diverse input, insightful feedback, and thorough field testing are critical components in helping us bring our product ideas to life, so we decided to go straight to the source to get the scoop on the best outerwear from the Fall 2023 winter collection.




Sophia Rouches – Freeride Skiing

Hemispheres II Jacket  |  Hemispheres II Bibs


My favorite kit is the Hemispheres II Jacket and Bib. I love the Hemi's kit because of how waterproof it is while still being breathable for days on the skin track. Being based in the PNW, it's very important to have gear that holds up in the stormy elements, and the Hemisphere kit keeps me dry all day long.

My favorite function of the Hemisphere bibs is having a zipper that goes all the way up on one side, which means I can pee without having to fully undress!! I've worn the Hemisphere kit on days at the hill when it's 32 degrees and raining and days when it's 60 and sunny. No matter the conditions, it holds up. The vents keep things breathing when on the skin track, and the 3-layer Gore-Tex protects when needed.

I chose the Hemisphere because of how versatile it is. I love having a shell because I can change my layering depending on the day. If it's cold out, I'll throw on a light puffy like the SuperStrand LT, or if it's a spring day, I'll just rock a light base layer. Most days, I start the morning riding chairlifts and then venture into the backcountry in the afternoon. It's nice to have a kit that can handle both.

I frequently find myself waist-deep, boot-packing around the Baker backcountry, and I'm pleased to report that the Hemispheres kit lets no snow in! The gaiters protect snow from getting up the leg, and the bibs make it difficult for any snow to sneak in from above.

For folks looking at new outerwear, I recommend taking into consideration a few different factors:

  • Where will you be mostly skiing? If it's somewhere with cold temps and dry snow, you might opt for an outerwear setup with insulation like the Tungsten.
  • What kind of skiing do you like doing? If you're mostly riding chairlifts, something with insulation can also be nice. If you find yourself venturing into the backcountry, choose a shell like the Hemispheres II or Skytour.


Outdoor Research Ambassador Max Djenohan ascends Mount Rainier.


Max Djenohan – Snowboard Mountaineering

Skytour Jacket  |  Skytour Bibs


The Skytour Kit is my go-to for moving fast and light. It is super lightweight and breathable—I can barely tell I am wearing it. I love it for backcountry touring. It's perfect for skinning because of how breathable it is, but it blocks the wind and is waterproof for the descent or if I'm stuck in bad weather on a windy ridge. I love the range of motion you get from the stretchy fabric, and it has pockets in all the right places.

OR gear is built for the PNW, and depending on the objective, the weather can be insane. I'm happy to say most of my kits fit whatever terrain I'm deciding to tackle. After all, there's no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate equipment, and OR keeps me covered in whatever environment I'm in. I had the opportunity to help a friend set the Guinness world speed record on the 50 highest points in each of the 50 states. He was on a strict schedule when we made a send of Mt. Rainier. We were at 13,000 ft when a blizzard hit our climbing party, and I was lucky enough to have my Skytour Jacket and Super Alpine Down Parka to weather the storm while we continued our push to the summit.

I always think of what I am going to use my kit for, be it touring, mountaineering, climbing, resort riding, or all the above. Then, I pick a kit based on what I think would excel in whichever discipline. I'll usually go for the quiver killer—light, waterproof, breathable and unrestrictive. You get all that and more with the Skytour kit.


Zoe Atkin celebrates her first place finish at the X Games


Zoe Atkin – Freestyle Skiing

Snowcrew Anorak  |  Snowcrew Pant


My favorite kit to ski is the Snowcrew kit. I really like how insulated it is, but it also gives me the range of motion I need for doing tricks and getting grabs in the pipe. I'm horrible with cold weather (funny coming from a winter sports athlete), so I usually find myself wearing many layers to keep warm, which can inhibit my ability to twist and move—essential for half pipe skiing. This kit has been perfect because it is very movable but also very warm, keeping me from getting too cranky. And I love the pass pocket in the sleeve, as most of my skiing is done at the resort.

I was wearing the Snowcrew kit when I won my first X-Games medal, and I love the armpit and leg vents for cooling if it gets too hot. It kept me warm but cool enough under the hot lights and was breathable enough with my nervous sweating to keep me comfortable. I am really drawn to this season's colors, especially the new anorak style. And I love the pass pocket in the sleeve, as most of my skiing is done at the resort.

First and foremost, fit and functionality are the most important. You must consider how you want your gear to perform, how it feels on your body, and how that can enable your personal skiing. Then, you should consider more fun aspects of gear, such as extra technical capabilities or fun colors. It's good that OR does a good job of combining all the above!


Outdoor Research Ambassasor Micah Evangelista wears the Hemispheres II Jacket in Spice.


Micah Evangelista – Freeride Skiing

Hemispheres II Jacket  |  Hemispheres II Bibs


The Hemispheres kit is definitely my go-to kit for skiing! The Hemi's kit is everything I look for in a technical outerwear kit. The Gore-Tex waterproofing stays dry in any condition, and the lightweight of the jacket is perfect for layering with my favorite base layer and light puffy like the SuperStrand LT or Helium Down underneath. It's durable, stylish, and has a nice fit too! The stretch fabric is sweet for movement, but really, it's the classic Gore-Tex shell design that keeps me coming back to it.

One of my favorite things about the Hemispheres kit is its ability to be used in many scenarios and conditions. It's rugged and durable, which is great in mountaineering situations, but it also stays dry when lapping the chairlifts of Mt. Baker on big storm days. You can layer up on really cold days or keep it simple with a base layer for spring skiing. There are really no conditions when this kit wouldn't be my go-to. It's one of the longest-standing kits in OR's lineup, and it's my favorite Gore-Tex shell, so for me, it's a pretty simple choice for this jacket! It allows me to focus on pushing myself as a skier without having to worry about being cold, wet, or uncomfortable in the backcountry.

Being lightweight makes all of the difference for range of motion. With the Hemi's kit, the balance of comfort, quality, and unrestricted movement all meet in equal parts. I'm able to do short touring missions without needing to take the gear off. The side zips on the pants and jacket provide great breathability and airflow, so I never overheat.

I'd say consider what parts of snow outerwear are most important to you based on your location and the type of skiing you like to do! If you live in a really cold and dry place, perhaps a heavier insulated kit like the Tungsten or Snowcrew will give you that warmth and comfort all day long. If you live in an area with a lot of precipitation and heavy snowfall, Gore-Tex will probably be something you can't pass up! Consider all those factors and look to get a reliable and comfortable lot that will last for years to come.




Mark Abma – Freeride Skiing

Tungsten II Jacket  |  Tungsten II Pant


My favorite kit for resort skiing is the Tungsten II. I have always been a big fan of layering, and I still am, but that little bit of insulation in the Tungsten means I can go super lightweight with my base layers, often just a single base layer if it isn't super cold outside, which is often the case in Southwest B.C. I still get the flexibility and range of motion of an uninsulated shell but without the bulk of 3 or more layers. It feels like spring skiing all year long!

I really like the fit and function of the new Tungsten II Kit. The intuitive resort features are awesome, and the coverage fits my frame perfectly. I don't worry about exposed wrists or waist when skiing in deep snow or if I take a spill. The waterproofness is top-notch, and I love that the leg gaiters keep the pants over my boots while keeping the snow out. I also really appreciate the pit zips and leg vents when the temps rise, or I'm skiing hard.

The reliability of all OR's gear stands out to me, but I've really put the Tungsten II kit through the paces. I've skied this kit inbounds all over North America, and beyond a few scuffs from close calls with trees, the kit looks and functions as good as new. And again, the light insulation is clutch.


 Outdoor Research Ambassador Troy Podmilsak wears the Snowcrew Anorak in Black/Snow.


Troy Podmilsak – Freestyle Skiing

Snowcrew Anorak Snowcrew Pant


My favorite OR Kit is the Snowcrew. I am a competition skier and spend a lot of time standing at the top of the jump, talking through tricks with my coaches, and waiting to drop. The insulation in the Snowcrew kit is super nice, and it keeps me warm even if I am not actually dropping in. I usually bring a few different base layers in my backpack and switch them out depending on the weather. If it's warm outside, I'll wear just the Snowcrew Anorak and a T-shirt and unzip the pit zips. If it's colder, I'll throw on a SuperStrand or a hoodie, and that's usually more than enough to keep me warm.

Another thing I like about the Snowcrew Kit is that it doesn't restrict my movements in the air. With other brands, I had to wear the next size up to get full range of motion, but I can get any grab pretty easily in OR gear without the fit being too baggy. So yeah, the fit and freedom of movement is really good with this kit.

For people who are going to spend a lot of money on outerwear, I would say just to make sure that you buy the right gear for where you are skiing and the type of skiing you are doing. If you are riding the resort in a cold part of the country like Montana or Colorado, I would definitely consider getting something with insulation built into it. But if you're touring in more moderate zones like Washington or California, you probably want to get a shell like the Hemi or Skytour to layer with. 


Outdoor Research Ambassador Neil Provo wears the Hemispheres II Jacket in Spice.


Neil Provo – Freeride Snowboarding

Hemispheres II Jacket  |  Hemispheres II Bibs


I use the Hemisphere Jacket and Bibs for just about every type of riding and conditions I may encounter. One of my favorite features on the Hemisphere jacket would have to be the TorsoFlo venting. It allows me to keep my temperature exactly where it needs to be and works incredibly well with a backpack. Having the ability to open up the jacket to bring in cool air is huge! The Stretch panel across the back and between the legs on the hemisphere kit is next level. The gear moves with you when you’re stretching out on skin-track-kick-turns or kicking out a method on your snowboard!

The Hemisphere kit is super versatile because I can add or remove layers depending on what the weather’s doing. Stripped down to just the shell is perfect for warm spring days, and I always keep a Helium Down Jacket in my backpack just in case it gets cold.

For me, having the most protection from the weather and elements is the most crucial in choosing outerwear. I like to have a good shell system so that I can stay comfortable in any type of situation.

A few years ago, my brother and I brought our good friend and legendary skier, Tanner Hall, on a glacier camping trip in Alaska. Long story short, it snowed for 8 days straight, and his jacket got completely soaked through on the second day. I had a spare OR Foray II Jacket in my pack, which kept him dry for the next 6 days until the storm cleared. We estimated that it snowed over 15 feet!

There’s nothing worse than being wet and cold on the mountain while searching for your next pow stash. The TorsoFlo venting, combined with the stretch panels on the Hemispheres kit, provides unmatched comfort and protection compared to a traditional hard shell. Those key elements make it all happen. Invest in gear that works, and practice with different layers to dial in a system that works best for you. For me, “Light Is Right.”

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