Cloudveil claims to have started the softshell revolution...but thats another story.
I'd have to go with arcteryx and the other companies using waterproof zippers that do not require storm flaps, this is truly functional. Magnets in flaps seem like a good idea at face value, but they add the weight of the flap and the weight of the magnets. frankly those flaps just get in the way. having magnets seems like a "hey look at me!" feature for a company to sell their gear...i personally remember to close my pockets.
I've always wondered which way zippers should close but i figure that most zippered chest pockets also act as ventilation, so you'd want them to zip up so that you can keep things in there without them falling out. (ie, zippered half way up) I guess this would work to prevent things from spilling out if you pockets were stuffed too.
It is pretty sweet that volcom is making clothes for different parts of the country...in the east all we need are rain coats.
So anyway, Arc'teryx is the best, but you have to pay for it. Cloudveil Rocks, So does Mammut and Patagonia. Marmot is up there, but be careful, they over build sometimes and their coats end up heavy. Mountain Hardwear can be solid, North Face cannot. I don't have much experience with skiing specific companies, phenix spyder etc., but i bet they'd be great (and better then my suggestions) if you're a racer. I'm aimed more at all mountain/hiking for your turns.
Personally I'm a fan of a shell and an insulation layer...especially if you stay warm easily. This allows you to tailor your warmth depending on conditions and changes on the hill. check out www.sierratradingpost.com
for good deals. Try stuff on around you, get a good sense and see what you can get a deal on. If you want to spend 200, spend it on last years coat that was 350.
Sorry for the long opinionated post, outerwear is what i love...pm or ask more for specific answers instead of my rant.