I got the Patagonia Down shirt for skiing last winter. I have used it for a year season and have these thoughts.
For skiing, the down shirt is a great layering piece when temps are below about 20F and can work as a shell in fair weather. Functionally the shirt is about a halfinch thick down layer with a half zip and minimal embellishments. It is light and pack-able at the expense of features. The shirt replaces and improves on the ubiquitous fleece layer in a few key respects:
1. It moves very well and feels light. Fleece seems to stick to my baselayer and binds up a bit when I am moving. The down shirt slides smoothly over other layers.
2. Its warmth some how feels "just right". I never feel sweaty or too warm in this thing. Perhaps when I do sweat a little it wets the down and then reduces insulation and cools me off. Which is EXACTLY what sweating is supposed to do. Either way it feels very comfortable.
3. It is windproof and DWR coated which allows it to function very nicely as an outer layer and also improves it's insulation properties.
4. Packability is super and this layer can comes with me on any trip where I have a pack with me. I keep this in my pack on every ski tour to throw on when I stop to keep from getting cold.
5. Even on powder days, I stay warm and dry with this under my shell.
1. The down will compress underneath me while sitting on the lift, so my back will get cold on some lifts.
2. Only a half zip and no pockets, makes it less useful as an outer layer.
3. Not really ideal for sitting around the camp fire as ashes will quickly burn holes in this light weight jacket.
Bottom line: I would not be with out a thin light pack-able down layer for skiing in the intermountain region.
Edited by tromano - 8/18/12 at 8:32am