Originally Posted by Sundance1962
My take after a couple dozen years of skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing and backpacking is that Arcteryx, Cloudveil, Mountain Hardware, and Marmot are all top drawer, The North Face has fallen somewhat but can still produce great products, while the more "mass market" brands like Patagonia and Helly Hanson are a step down for the most part but still can be very good.
I am a HUGE Cloudveil fan, although you'll have to look far and wide to find their good Vertical collection jackets in the color and size combo you want at this point in the year. Their own web site is completely sold out of product, which tells you something!
I also love Arc'teryx, and I have heard that one of the newer jackets has a great, off-center zipper system, so you don't have to worry about chin-chafe. They always have good design like that.
Both Arc'teryx and Cloudveil have tremendous warranties and customer service, as mentioned by PPs.
If you're looking at ski-specific brands, I'd suggest checking out both DNA and Kjus ($$$$), too. They make some great stuff.
As for Spyder, I have some awesome (very high quality, high durability, good looking) Spyder pants, but I find the jackets a bit visually *busy* for my personal taste. If I'm spending the ducats, I'd buy another Cloudveil jacket any day.
Just my $.02