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!