Outdoor Research Women's Black Powder II Pants
Colour: Black, Saddle
Price: $249 USD
Weight: 25.6oz/724g (medium)
The Black Powder II Pants feature a waterproof, windproof breathable Pertex Shield 200D 100% Nylon
Durability - When the Blackpowder II Pants arrived, you can immediately feel the quality of the material used to make these pants. The 200D Pertex shield fabric instantly boosts your confidence that these pants will be able to withstand attacks from sharp edges and moisture. They feel very durable and no wonder they are popular with lifties and patrollers.
Snowboard vs Ski - As a skier and a snowboarder, I actually preferred using these pants snowboarding. The durable Pertex Shield 200 D fabric was great when sitting down on the snow strapping into my board. The fabric shed snow and moisture really well and I felt they worked with my snowboard style better. The internal gaiter fit well over both my snowboard and ski boots in the size medium unlike other reviewers have mentioned.
High Waist - OR has raised the fabric to cover part of the low back. I love this feature on some of their other pants like the Iceline Pant but really liked when snowboarding. Bending over is part of the deal snowboarding and I love how these pants had by back covered!
Pockets - These pants have 4 usable pockets which come in handy as a ski/snowboard race coach. I could fit tools, extra lift tickets, money, and start lists in these hand pockets.
Insulation- I wouldn't call these pants well insulated but the burly outer fabric combined with the inner linings have kept me warm on the coldest of days. The polyester tricot lining feels great in areas where I feel cold the most: the bum and hips.
Protection from the elements- I wore these pants in rainstorms and snowstorms this winter. Rain beaded off the Pertex fabric and left me feeling pretty confident that these pants can handle anything Mother Nature will throw at it.
Tight around hips - I found the pants a bit tight around the hips and I would consider myself an average built woman. For a women's specific design I would use or add more of a stretch material that contours around a woman's hips and allows for more freedom of movement flexion and extension of knees and hips.
Heavy for touring - Although the Blackpowder II pants have touring features like a beacon pocket and clip, generous side venting options as well as breathable fabric, I would not use these pants for long uphill tours. Heli-skiing, catskiing and short sidecountry forays would be more appropriate. Not really a con per se, but wanted to clarify where I think they would best be used.
Belt - I love having belt systems on my outdoor pants. The internal belt system works well on these pants I would most definitely prefer velcro adjustments to this hook in style belt. I have used velcro before on OR's Iceline and Cirque pants and really like how quickly you can adjust it (in case you eat a big lunch!) as well as how well it snugs your sides. The webbing belt system is effective but didn't feel great all the time. A small piece of webbing definitely is less comfortable than velcro.
Best Uses: Resort Skiing and Snowboarding, Patrolling, Instructors, Lifties, Racing, Sidecountry
Disclaimer: I was given these ski pants as part of OR's #ORInsightLab. The opinions expressed in my review are completely my own.