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Arcteryx sidewinder versus Spyder Pinnacle (versus Frauenschuh) and layering questions

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Wife and I are relatively new to skiing.  

 

Currently, I have a North Face 3-in-1 and it's way too bulky, stiff, and...hot?  When the day starts it's fine but I'm an anxious skier and when the terrain gets tough and I'm concentrating hard I sweat.  And then I deal with sloshy pits and a wet back before lunch time and strip down to cool off.

 

I'm debating arcteryx sidewinder since it's so highly rated here versus the pinnacle by spyder.  Both seem to have great reviews.  Does Spyder come with an insulation layer that Arcteryx Sidewinder does not?  How do you guys typically layer?

 

I currently wear a baselayer (under armour or something), a midlayer half zip (mountain force), and then the north face.  When I get sweaty and sticky, I literally cannot wait to strip off the base layer, and then lounge in the mid-layer quite comfortably the remainder of the evening, and wonder why I don't skip the base altogether.  My thoughts are, would I be able to skip the base layer altogether since that's what seems to make me sweat, keep the mid layer, then maybe do a fleece or lightweight down jacket, and then the arcteryx sidewinder hard shell on top?  Would that be warm enough?  Most of our skiing is in Washington, Oregon, and Whistler, with the vast majority of our trips being to Whistler.

 

My wife loves frauenschuh and I looked at some of there stuff; stylish, but I can't find any reviews on how it actually functions.

 

For legs, I wear the base layer, mid layer, then ski pants.  Does anyone out there skip the base, and just go mid and ski pants?  

 

 

Would this plan work for, say, 0-20 degree weather for those colder Whistler days atop the mountain?

 

Any and all input is greatly appreciated!  I'd like to hear how you guys layer up depending on the conditions.

post #2 of 19

You're wearing a 3-in-1 jacket with a base layer AND a mid layer?  Why not just ditch the mid layer?  I wear a base layer, mid layer and a shell jacket.  For pants I wear a mid layer and the ski pants, no mid layer.  I'm comfortable in Montana with that combination even if the temp drops below 0F.

post #3 of 19

I don't know the Spyder piece, but I seem to own most of the Arcteryx model line, typically in multiple colors, and can say that the Sidewinder is the piece I liked least in the lineup, and in fact sold mine soon after buying it. Having one side of the neck about three times the size of the other and flopping around if not done completely up was not fun. I understand the reason for the offset zipper, but it's just not effective in my opinion.

 

The Sidewinder has a fuzzy layer inside that's supposed to be light insulation. It's warmer than a shell, but far from warm on its own.

 

At least half of my season is typically spent at Whistler, and I have a very light underlayer, a Arcteryx Delta insulating layer, an Arcteryx Atom, then usually an Arcteryx Beta AR Shell. It might be warm at the base, but by mid-station and above it's perfect. For pants, just a mid-level layer and insulated pants does the trick.

 

If you're sweating that much you may want to get pieces that breathe better, as it sounds like you're wearing too much, and not stuff that works terribly well.

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post
 

... Having one side of the neck about three times the size of the other and flopping around if not done completely up was not fun. I understand the reason for the offset zipper, but it's just not effective in my opinion.

 

 

Yup.  I have a couple of Sidewinders and the long side of the collar slaps me in the face frequently.  It sounds funny but the damn thing stings.  I don't wear them now unless I know I'll have the zip done up all day. 

 

I bought a Stinger jacket a couple of years back to get away from the problem, and to tuck my face behind the taller collar.  Now I'm about to experiment with a Caden and a Rush jacket.  The Sidewinders will go up for sale.

post #5 of 19
OP: You call yourself an anxious skier. Modest suggestion: Take some lessons before you invest in a lot of new gear.

Why? The better you get, the less you work. And the lower your anxiety over difficult terrain. So you likely will need fewer layers if the issue is nerves or exertion. Not sure three layers is too many; some of that depends on your own physiology and the places you ski. But the NW is not notorious for low temps. I'd bet if you can ski more relaxed, you might plan layers that can be peeled or vented.

Then of course as you start hiking or skinning, you will start sweating again. 😁

As far as the jackets, I'm a big Arcteryx fan but hated the Sidewinder when I tried it on at a factory store. Same reason as above; big floppy piece in my face. Yes, zippers sting at 50 mph.
Edited by beyond - 4/20/17 at 4:16am
post #6 of 19

I think an understanding of what the layers in a layering system DO might help a bit, OP seems a bit off on this.

 

Base Layer- keep your skin dry by moving water vapor (sweat) away fro your skin and toward the outer layer. DO NOT skip this, just use something good (UA is CRAP).

 

Mid Layer- warmth, this is where you tailor to the days conditions, you should have multiple options from light to heavy. This can be skipped in spring or worn as outer layer for some.

 

Outer Layer- element protection. Keeps you dry and protected from wind and snow. Can sometimes be skipped if it's dry and sunny.

 

Personally I find lots of 'off brand' stuff works just fine for a mid layer, but spending extra on base layer quality is well worth it, as with outer layers you actually do get what you pay for.

post #7 of 19

Another vote against the Sidewinder but for Arcteryx. The side zipper was a nice concept but one of their few design mistakes.In addition to the zipper slapping you in the face the hood is too small to go over a helmet.  

post #8 of 19

I totally agree that you need a better base layer - sweaty overheating with UA base is a cliche.     And do give it a try without the mid layer bottoms. 

post #9 of 19

For Whistler or the PNW generally, OP is wearing way too much gear.  I'd be "anxious" also, but from all of the clothes, not the terrain.  Skiing (at all levels) is an active sport.  You are dressing to sit around at a football game in Green Bay.

 

As a PNW skier, my typical set up on top is:  base-layer, mid-layer (this piece varies depending on weather), shell.  Bottom: base-layer, shell.  That gets it down into the low teens.

 

In the PNW, the most important thing is your shell layers.  Waterproof and breathable.  That is where you should dump all of your investment.  You get what you pay for.  I think that the jacket is most important, then the pants.  I have an Arcteryx jacket that I've been very pleased with.  I'll get another when I replace it. 

 

The next most important thing in the PNW is building a collection of mid-layers and knowing which to use depending on conditions.  I am addicted to buying mid-layer pieces - which can double as PNW in-town fashion - I am always in search of the perfect mid-layer.

 

My take is that your set up is way too rigid and way too much.  I have no idea as to how well the shell layer of the NF works, but if you are using the full 3 in 1 set up, the mid-layer is already included.  You shouldn't need another.  Either pull out the NF insulated liner or ditch the MF layer. 

 

And on on bottom, unless you have circulation problems the set up is way too much.  It would need to be sub zero F before I'd wear that much on bottom.  And I still would go lighter that you do.  Ultimately, you are wearing too much and not taking cues from your experience that you need to vary the set up.  I'm not sure that more shopping is the answer necessarily, but an Arcteryx shell would be a nice upgrade if you can swing it.

post #10 of 19

You can go on Steep and Cheap (steepandcheap.com) that has a good sale on Arcteryx right now, to include base layers, mid layers and shells. Even on sale it's not cheap, BUT, you won't regret the quality. Rho, Atom and Beta and you're good-to-go.

post #11 of 19

Merino wool base layers are the best.  Patagonia, Ibex, Icebreaker and I'm sure there are others.  Soggy maps and soggy underwear, what a combo.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post Soggy maps and soggy underwear, what a combo.

Remember back-in-the-day when you'd take your gear off and it'd be a 20 lb steaming pile of wet clothes in the corner.

post #13 of 19
And when I started, base layers were mostly waffle knit cotton. That waffle knit was gonna keep you warm. What a joke it was.
post #14 of 19

mid-layer pants?  is that a thing?

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adema View Post
 

mid-layer pants?  is that a thing?

 

It's do-able like mid layer for tops when using a shell, and for sure there's shell pants, but my experience has been (for 50 years) to use a light layer and insulated waterproof pants and they'll be no need for more than  one layer of pants.

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adema View Post
 

mid-layer pants?  is that a thing?

 

 

They even trim some of them with pockets and things so you can wear them as a fleece-running-pant outerlayer to the hill.

 

http://www.patagonia.com/product/mens-r1-fleece-pants/82156.html?dwvar_82156_color=FGE&cgid=mens-fleece-technical#q=fleece&start=1

 

Sure, I've used such things.    At -20F and below.

post #17 of 19

huh.  that's new to me.  i've never worn more than 2 layers of pants....usually just 1.  for whatever reason, my legs don't really get cold.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adema View Post
 

huh.  that's new to me.  i've never worn more than 2 layers of pants....usually just 1.  for whatever reason, my legs don't really get cold.

 

I think that's pretty much the reactions of most respondents to the thread;  sure maybe OP generally feels colder than most of us but the sweatiness episodes make me think that unlikely.

post #19 of 19
I ski in Whistler, and while I can't speak to the other brands you are looking at I can tell you what I wear and some stuff to consider.

On the bottom: icebreaker boxers. Fleece pants. Arcteryx bibs. These are good at all temps even on the very coldest days. No base required.

Up top: icebreaker 260 zip, Arcteryx gamma mx jacket, Arcteryx theta ar. Good in all conditions even down to the coldest temps. Slightly longer jacket is suprisingly beneficial when the wind picks up.

Merino wool is the best base layer period. Icebreaker and Ibex are the ones I have used. I wear merino year round, and for all mountain biking as well.

A waterproof shell is a must here.

For your jacket, try on with your helmet if you use one. Sometimes the zipper doesn't allow for space when the helmet is on. I think the sidewinder is one where that can be an issue.

For heat management: wool balaclava on slightly cold to coldest days. Hood up on coldest days. Neither on warmer days.

Part of your heat problem is likely: synthetic base layers. Too many layers overall.

Hope this is helpful.

tw
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