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Arc'teryx Ski Setup Help

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,


First post though I have been reading these forums rigorously in the last week trying to figure out what to do so Ill just get to it.


I have decided to take the dive and buy the high end of outerwear clothing and get an Arc'teryx jacket.  Now I figure Ill explain my type of skiing first before passing judgment.  I have been skiing for 20 years and like to believe I'm really good at it ;)  Most of my skiing happens out on the west coast of BC.  I frequent places like Whistler, Cypress, Big White and Silver Star.  I usually ski looking for powder but end up in the trees a lot as well.  Whether it be off limits (within reason) or treeline I tend to look for stuff that hasn't been destroyed by hundreds of skis and snowboards plowing over it.  I usually come down at decent paces to I can to an extent work up a quick sweat.


I bought myself an early Christmas present and took a dive on a Big Sky Blue Stingray jacket.  It appears to have everything that I want and feels great along with looking slick (IMO).  My biggest concern is that its made out of the Soft Shell Gortex as opposed to the Pro Shell.  Skiing in tree lines has me worried about durability.  Most of the comments I see have people saying it stands up just fine in the bush and have nothing but nice things to say about it.  Even with all that said, it's human nature to second guess such a costly purchase.  I like the way the soft shell feels, but then again I didn't 'dislike' the pro shell.


I stopped at the Factory Outlet in North Van and aside from them having an atrocious selection w/ no returns or warranty I found a couple nice pieces.  Biggest issue with that place is sizing.  I can fit in the Stingray small (though I got the medium for layering) so the variety of XXL that they had didn't really cut it for me :)  I did come across a nice medium Sidewinder for a decent price compared to what I paid for my Stingray.  My biggest issue with it is the color.  Pine/Dark green.  Most of my gear is blue so finally taking a dive and getting the blue Stingray was relieving.


What would be the best all around jacket for me?  I don't really need anything for day to day use.  I tend to 4x4 from time to time but I don't know if I would want to subject my $500-600 jacket to that.  It will likely be used just for snow and skiing.  I may go on a hike trip here or there but who knows when that may take place.  I'm not against getting a different one down the road for other uses but want to make sure I made a good choice with the Stingray.


Help oh informed and knowledgeable ones!

post #2 of 13

I wouldn't worry about the durability of the soft shell.  I've found my Cloudveil softshell to be bomber.  I torture it in the trees all the time.


post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post

I wouldn't worry about the durability of the soft shell.  I've found my Cloudveil softshell to be bomber.  I torture it in the trees all the time.


No direct issues with tearing, rips or scratching?  That's reassuring.


Open to more comments as well.

post #4 of 13

IMHO:  Hard shells tend to repel water better than soft shells, which you might see from time to time in the PNW.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

I was down at the local sports store and the guy I talked to said he would have gotten a Theta AR.  Says its a more all around jacket with the Pro Shell.  He works Ski Patrol and what not as well.  Any thoughts on that?

post #6 of 13

I had a Stingray jacket for a couple of years.  It looked like new when I resold it in the classifieds here.  Although I don't ski trees (no place around here), I think that you will find it holds up very well.




Shredhead- normally I'd agree with you, but the Arc'Teryx softshell is GoreTex with a softer feel.  It works as well as most GoreTex hard shells.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yea as far as water proofing I hear its just as repellant some it's till Gortex. 

post #8 of 13

There are a lot of threads on this already, but the basic idea is that GoreTex Soft Shell is not actually a "softshell." It's a misnomer. It's really a hardshell material that's bonded to some fuzzy stuff and given a softer feel. It is completely waterproof, same as Pro Shell.


Durability-wise, I wouldn't worry about it at all for tree skiing. It should be pretty comparable to Pro Shell. Arcteryx is also pretty good about replacing items that have been damaged in normal usage. 


Regarding Theta AR vs Stingray, it just depends what you want. The Stingray is snowsports specific. It'll be a little warmer with the fuzzy stuff on the inside of the Soft Shell material. It also has a powder skirt and more pockets. The Theta/Beta AR are much lighter and are better rain jackets in warm weather, but you lose the ski-specific features. It looks like the "Rush" is their new snowsports specific Pro Shell jacket. (It used to be the Stinger and the Sidewinder). 


FWIW, I chose the Beta AR (shorter version of the Theta). I liked the weight and versatility and the feel of the Pro Shell, but I do miss having the extra pockets and stuff. There's not even a good place to attach a lift ticket. 


post #9 of 13

I picked up the Stingray late last season on sale in Stowe, VT.  It is my go to jacket.  I would be surprised if you have any "buyers remorse".  I had a Patagonia hardshell and currently purchase a Descente hardshell.  I much prefer the softshell feel.  Look around, you may find the jacket for $100 - $150 less for last years model if the colors work for you.  Enjoy

post #10 of 13

I've got the same blue Stingray jacket last year with about 70 days on it now. No complaints. I've used it during white out conditions to warm sunny days. I leave my older Marmot shell at home now because it just isn't tailored like and have the features of the Stingray. Something about the Gore Tex XCR that spoils you. Every time I think a tree branch has sliced it open. I always find that it hasn't. Pretty nice stuff. 

post #11 of 13
Even soft shell gore-tex is bomber material. If you're getting that close to trees I would be more worried about avoiding them. I've hit many branches with my sidewinder and not even a mark on my jacket.
post #12 of 13

I wouldn't worry too much, although Gore Tex Soft Shell wasn't designed for toughness, but rather comfort as an outer shell. It has all the construction and design to be tough, such as flat stitched seams. The fabric itself doesn't compare on paper to pro, that's why most pro shell jackets are at least $100 more. The reasoning behind softvshell's fuzz was to "warm" up the feeling of the inside of the jacket when sweating. I ski all over in a Theta SV, which has no powder skirt but a nice drop in mesh pocket on the inside... You also can't beat the storm hood. I wouldn't regret the stingray, but I wouldn't say it's as durable as pro either. Arc favors softshell in all but a few of the white pieces for a reason. 

post #13 of 13

check this info, but I believe it to be true. the only advantage to the Pro Shell Goretex, used in Marmot, Arcteryx, Mountain Hardware, and others is that it is more breathable and might be lighter in weight. It is the go to material for people who are hiking (working hard) as part of skiing or climbing. For me, and I had a pro shell that I returned for this reason, the pro shell breaths much too well for resort use. Standing around in line or sitting on a chair, the warmth your body is generating just goes out your back in a second. Brrrrrrrr!  I prefer the Performance  level Gore-tex fabric, as it seems a little heavier and definitely holds heat in better. Breathability can go too far, IMO, rendering a jacket useless for protection from cold.


about Arcteryx soft shells. I have an early model that was made with Scholler fabric. It's really a glorified sweater, without the wool. It is not windproof. It is not water proof. It doesn't breath well. It just looks really cool and has a bunch of pockets. It's good down to around a windless 40 degrees I'd say. the point is, Arcteryx may have gone to the Gore-tex fabric for their "soft shell" models, to gain performance beyond the Scholler. It's not sweater-like any more, but that is likely a good thing. My jacket is 10 years old and not a flaw, the black fades a little is all, but that seems to be the case with most black fabrics.

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