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Backcountry / Resort Jacket (On the Cheap?)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Problem: Bashing into trees is bad for expensive ski clothing


For that reason (and I also missed all the good pre-season sales) I've most of my skiing in a Patagonia Torrentshell jacket which, to my surprise, has worked extremely well. Lot's of tree skiing, no scratches found


But why Patagonia - why do you refuse to put a chest pocket on the Torrentshell??


So I'm wondering - do any of you use a rain jacket as a ski shell? The Torrentshell has worked great as a backcountry shell (not to mention I've worn it every single day for about 2 years). Even on a cold resort day it's usable with a few puffy coats underneath


For reasons other than skiing I need to replace it though, and was wonder if I could do a bit better for the same amount of money. Looking around, it seems like the Outdoor Research Foray and the Marmont Minimalist are both contenders. Both can be had for killer deals right now and seem strong enough (2.5 layer gore-tex) to take into the trees without fear


Am I missing something? Why shell out $400+ for a ski shell when I can snag a burly rain jacket for $100?

post #2 of 7

Whatever works for you and as long as you're happy with it is what I would say.


I got a North Face rain jacket 10 years ago or so for rainy weather in North Texas when I lived there.  It was more spendy since it was Gore-Tex, but I used it skiing on snowy days all the time.  It was comfy, kept me dry, and it looked O-K.  It had the same issue with less than ideal pockets, though.  Had it not been for that, it would have been perfect.


So, get whatever you like and whatever works for you, no matter its designed intent.

post #3 of 7

If it ain't broke, why fix it? 


Personally, I have a Burton AK shell that I use when I'm not in uniform. Thing is a beast, I think if I snagged anything hard enough to tear it, I'd get ripped off my skis before the jacket ripped. 

post #4 of 7

For most of fall and spring skiing, I wear a North Face rain shell over a fleece, or thin fake down (thermoball, nano puff etc) jacket - I've had my shell for 4 years and it's still holding up really well. I also use it almost year round and for hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing etc. I think the shell was $80 or $90 CAD when I got it.


I say use whatever works...especially if it's a good price. I have a hard time shelling out a ton of money because my outdoor gear gets a ton of abuse. I won't buy things that are dirt cheap, because I need durability, but I can't really see myself every buying a $400 shell that will only last me a few seasons. The most expensive thing I've gotten is a Marmot jacket I use for the cold skiing days. But I have to say that cold is the only factor that makes me spend more money. I will spend money to be warm.

post #5 of 7

one other thing: the only thing I would consider additionally for bc skiing is breathability - and there are a number of shells out there that offer good protection from wind and snow that are quite breathable. 

post #6 of 7

I ripped a Patagonia jacket skiing trees in February. Never felt anything, just got to the lift and the entire front was shredded.

I was a little disappointed,  since it was only two seasons old.


Sent it in and they credited the full purchase price toward a new garment.

Pretty dam iron clad guarantee.


This time of year I'm often skiing in an OR rain jacket and it has better pockets than the Patagonia.

post #7 of 7

Question: Is it better to use a parka that's designed for one mission in another, very different, one to save some money? Well, maybe if the premise is that you have to pay MSRP on gear. Or you can be patient, shop off season, follow likely closeouts from a year or two ago, haunt local shops, and guess what? You get a real ski parka for the same $$ as a rain parka. So you don't have to moan about construction quality when you kill your nice lightweight, breathable rain gear. I've never paid over 55% of the retail price for my Arcteryx or Patagonia ski stuff. I know, it's rocket science. :rolleyes 

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