Please pardon this rant, what ever denomination you are:
My denomination is Alpine Skiing. I believe in physics and the Three Turn Phases…. and I have ' practiced' them often for four decades of full time ski seasons.
I accuse FAT-Ski-skiers of giving up Phase ONE of the turn, no matter how hard they protest that fat skis carve… but that is a whole other debate.
This is about ski apparel.
Every time I go looking for pants or a jacket I go ape-sh# because I know what I am looking for and I am guided by THE PHYSICS OF ALPINE SKIING.
I dismayed by what the Snowboarder and Park-rat scene has done to what is loosely referred to as ' the ski-fashion industry ' ( or vice versa) and how the search for ski outer wear is becoming increasingly more difficult.
Increasingly so, because many managers of ski shops are young enough that they may be - shudder - snow-boarders… in charge of ordering 'ski-jackets' …. OR MARKETING CONSULTANTS WHO GET A WEEK'S SKI-VACATION … OR WHO " USED TO SKI" .
A bit more specifically: the rise of the Yo' dude has produced a prevalence of rectangular, two-dimensional, CLOWN suits that may look good in Gopro vids on Yootoob but are not for a serious adult skier - I Mean Me.
And they're insulated to boot, which is just what you need when the average ski-day here in Whistler is minus five to plus two… or when you wear a cotton t-shirt that hangs down to your knees.
Alpine skiing is not ski-touring or backcountry or ice-climbing and has been, on some rare examples, acknowledged in some ski-jackets.
So I ran around to Every Store in Whistler and Squamish and I looked at dozens of jackets and there might be One that comes close to what I would consider a SKI-jacket… and not in every store.
I hope that by now you are wondering what the just what the hell I am looking for, so here goes:
GORE-TEX - or equivalent; no matter what you may call it. With a light, nice 'hand' outer fabric. ( soft-shell-outer is right out.)
LINED - so the inner TWO goggle/ cargo and two inner ditty pockets can hang off the liner instead off the outer shell. ( skiing with a pack blows- especially at the usual 60-95k on the GS boards.
Lined with a bit of fleece down the back-strip and smooth slidey 'taffeta' on the shoulders and sleeves.
Two outer chest and two hand-warmer pockets. ( no flappy flaps, please )
Detachable hood - so I get a real collar and the option. If the hood is the collar, then: if your hood is down your collar is down.
The hood is TOUQUE SIZED ( wear a helmet on yer knee - cause yer knee will get it first )
Pit-zips that work one-handed and have access to the cargo bays.
Two-way front zip ( Arcteryx has crapped out here, as have many others. I don't wear a harness or a waist-belt-pack, for that matter and don't need to down-zip for a sandwich on the lift. )
More points for providing: Upper-arm goggle-cloth pocket, detachable snow-skirt, no fore-arm glove-condom ( tho' a snip with the scissors work here )> Option of glove in or out ... Super-magnets for front-flap at the chin.
INSULATION IS RIGHT OUT... THIS IS WHISTLER. THIS IS THE COAST. Wear a puffy that disappears when you put it on under the shell.
Alpine skiing is not ski-touring or backcountry or ice-climbing and has been on some rare examples, acknowledged in some ski-jackets.
Three way systems - a' la Columbia- are bogus too, because the fleece/puffy layer is worn to and from the hill or in the lodge/bar… and why have to un-zip it from the jacket in order to do so ? Not to mention the stiffer front that Three Zippers present. ( I cut mine out of the Peak-t-Creek model that I might have to use again and it has 200 days ).
Yet Columbia have some of the closest examples - especially around 300 dollar range. ( glacier to glade ) ( the Caribeener II is close until you take the layer out and then you are left with the sticky 2nd-ply of the outer shell ).
The mighty MEC offers back-country as they are mostly Pine-coners … they get a copy of this too.
Boutique-brands like Descent and Spyder and Kjus and Peak Performance are not only stratospheric in pricing but usually are too Euro and hence insulated, or soft shell. Arcteryx i$ right up there too.
$700 gets another great GS or Race-carver ski-deal. Jackets do not cost as much as skis do they ?
I do not want to blow that much on a ski-jacket and give up features that are important… I would blow as much if I could fill my list.
For those kind of big bucks I want a choice of half a dozen manufacturers and ten REAL SKI JACKETS.
In adult colours, too, so hold back the peacock-blues and puke-greens.white is right out, too.
The nice old-guy in Sno-ciety here in Whistler was kind enough to point me to Westcomb.com. ( Arcteryx's old plant and still good - But still no hand-pockets...or etc - but all he had was the picture of the guy thrutching his way up the ice-climb he probably ski-toured to ).
And if you think I am making this too long rant up… three years ago I found the Best Ski-jacket Ever by… Rossignol.
I mean Everything. The only problem after a 100+ day season in this $600 jacket, was that the right sleeve had worn through at the wrist from; would you believe - rubbing on the velcro on the front-zip-flap. ( I know it was this because there was no wear on the left sleeve. Rossignol crapped out on the warranty "normal wear " ) So the outer fabric was a fake.
I have spent enough time on this 'spell' that I will send it off to other makers of ski-jackets and now retailers that I have seen, both on-line and in-store, in the hope that I can influence at least one model and I won't have to waste so much time and protest next year.
Send me e-mails with models that fit these criteria - I tell staff its 100 bucks off for each important feature you can't match.
ps Update: Went to Sportchk and CoastMtn and looked at dozens again - insulated or ice-climbing.
Even the venerable Marmot on display was insulated. Jeeez- these guys used to make bad-ass HARD-shells for the W/B ski-patrol...
Any body got any clues... ?