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Ski specific Shells vs. General purpose shells

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Dear All,

A quick question about ski jackets. A lot of people seem to wear non ski specific shells (Arcteryx Alpha and beta for example). Does this work out OK? Or, is it that these guys do a load of climbing too, and reall it's a bit of a comprimise. Skiing-sise, I guess I'm aiming at 50% piste, 50% off piste + eventually touring...

I guess you miss out on a snow skirt, and maybe the cut is a little different? There is a lot more choice in London for general shells, rather than ski specific shells...

Henry
post #2 of 13
I generally look for certain features, such as the fabric (I am sold on GoreTex XCR), the weight (the lighter the better), the number and location of pockets, types of zipper pulls and their direction (can they be easily operated with gloves), hood yes/no, collar type, and of course fit. Whether it's a ski-specific or general purpose shell is of minor importance. I have found some dumb features on ski-specific shells, or been put off by the fit or style. At the same time, general purpose shells often have some clever features that work well for skiing.

I have owned both types of shells over the years, and currently have a climbing-style XCR shell. I spent a little more for the features, but it's really worth every penny. It's funny, I don't think twice about spending big bucks on skis, but to spend good money on a shell was a bit more serious.

I guess you should shop the whole field and focus on finding the combination of features that work. Good luck!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
I generally look for certain features, such as the fabric (I am sold on GoreTex XCR), the weight (the lighter the better), the number and location of pockets, types of zipper pulls and their direction (can they be easily operated with gloves), hood yes/no, collar type, and of course fit. Whether it's a ski-specific or general purpose shell is of minor importance. I have found some dumb features on ski-specific shells, or been put off by the fit or style. At the same time, general purpose shells often have some clever features that work well for skiing.

I have owned both types of shells over the years, and currently have a climbing-style XCR shell. I spent a little more for the features, but it's really worth every penny. It's funny, I don't think twice about spending big bucks on skis, but to spend good money on a shell was a bit more serious.

I guess you should shop the whole field and focus on finding the combination of features that work. Good luck!
Thanks 'Skier',

In fact just got back from the locak ski shop. Now am torn between TNF freethinker and the Arc'teryx Beta Ar. The only thing the Beta lacks that I might want is Recco and a snowskirt. Athe Arcteryx is about £90 cheaper As my pants have Recco, (and I wouldn't rely on it(!)) might well go for the Arcteryx.

Anyone out there really miss a snow skirt?
post #4 of 13
1) Everything Skier219 said, with the addendum that since XCR is more breathable, thus cooler, thus you will need a bit more underneath than with a dedicated ski parka. Which in my opinion are a lot less versatile and usually less well made than climbing/hiking gear.

2) I have owned both brands, find Arcteryx holds up better than TNF.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Beyond. Havinh mooched around this forum for a couple of months, it seems that layering is the better option- especially for touring etc. So, couple of weeks back splashed out on an Arc'teryx Hercules DWR fleece. Absolutly amazing. Fit is spot on, can't wait to ski in it. Really planning to wear this as a 'jacket' for most of my skiing, and keep a mid weight (read not paclite) shell in my backpack.

Hmm. Swaying Arcteryx.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hens View Post
Thanks 'Skier',

In fact just got back from the locak ski shop. Now am torn between TNF freethinker and the Arc'teryx Beta Ar. The only thing the Beta lacks that I might want is Recco and a snowskirt. Athe Arcteryx is about £90 cheaper As my pants have Recco, (and I wouldn't rely on it(!)) might well go for the Arcteryx.

Anyone out there really miss a snow skirt?
I own both an Arc'teryx and the Freethinker. The higher level North Face jackets are really high quality jackets. The Freethinker is one of the best shells I have skied with, and I like it better than anything I have skied in from Arc'teryx. My favorite shell is made by Salomon, but I can't remember the name. It is softshell/hardshell hybrid with Gore-tex. It is made for skiers and is really high quality. The price is a little lower than the other 2 you mentioned. Burton AK series shells and softshells are really nice too. They are made with great fabrics and aren't cut like most snowboard jackets.
post #7 of 13
It works fine. You can wear anything skiing, as long as it keeps you warm, dry & comfortable.

Typically, most jackets used by skiers include either a snow skirt or a drawcord at the hem to keep snow and the draft out. There are some pros and cons to each approach but both designs work fine to keep snow and draft out.

I just bought the Arc'Teryx Fission LT. Technically, not a ski jacket as it has the drawcord and no skirt. I do not climb and this jacket will be used exclusively for skiing.

BTW, the workmanship on the Arc'Teryx puts most other vendors to shame. Very nice!
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by fudman22 View Post
It works fine. You can wear anything skiing, as long as it keeps you warm, dry & comfortable.

Typically, most jackets used by skiers include either a snow skirt or a drawcord at the hem to keep snow and the draft out. There are some pros and cons to each approach but both designs work fine to keep snow and draft out.

I just bought the Arc'Teryx Fission LT. Technically, not a ski jacket as it has the drawcord and no skirt. I do not climb and this jacket will be used exclusively for skiing.

BTW, the workmanship on the Arc'Teryx puts most other vendors to shame. Very nice!
I think Arc'teryx is a lot like other manufacturers in that their more expensive jackets are top quality. I have heard quite a few people complaining about the quality of some of the cheaper shells. They moved production of many models to China so they are mass produced. The same can be said for North Face and Mtn. Hardware.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ut_hucker View Post
I think Arc'teryx is a lot like other manufacturers in that their more expensive jackets are top quality. I have heard quite a few people complaining about the quality of some of the cheaper shells. They moved production of many models to China so they are mass produced. The same can be said for North Face and Mtn. Hardware.
You are absolutely correct. Too many vendors have gone the overseas route and quality has declined. I didn't know that Arc'Teryx made any of there stuff in Asia (the Fission was made in Canada). If they are shifting production to Asia, then the slippery slope will surely follow...
post #10 of 13
I've seen a few $200 price range jackets that have been manufactured in China. One softshell that I bought was made there.
post #11 of 13
For my money the only thing that really distinquishes a "non-specific shell" from a "ski jacket" is a powder skirt. My requirements for a ski shell are breathable, waterproof, pit zippers, and a powder skirt. For backcountry skiing I would add a roll away hood. I like the versitility of big shells because I think layering is the only way to go.
post #12 of 13
I like my REI elements shell for skiing. Its super light and very basic. Similar to a marmot Precip, but slightly cheaper and this one fit me better. I find that often the pow skirt is superfluous unless its a pow day. The zippers are sort of flimsy, but thats not a big issue to me since I don't adjust zippers too much. It was made for ultralight summer backpacking / rain gear. For $99 is a nice shell that breathes well and will keep you dry if its snowing. It layers nicely over my softshell so if I am out on a warm day and it get windy, colder, or snowy I can just throw this on. Otherwise I can stash it in a pack and forget about it.

I also have an couple different insulated waterproof breathable ski jackets a with skiing features like pow skirt, removable hood, etc... for stormy days.
post #13 of 13
Well, I just got a arc'teryx theta aR...it is not ski specific, it is made more for climbing. But I find that it works for skiing just as good..

there is both a drawstring hem cord..and another drawstring 6 inches above that in your lower waist..I believe this is the replacement for the powder skirt..and I like it better since ski skirts get in the way and make things more complicated.

The theta ar also has a longer back than front, so you can cover your rear while sitting on icy ski lifts or want to sit in th snow for a bit

This is also has the new proshell gore tex fabric which is lighter and more breathable than the xcr...and yes..it is made in china now..all other arc'teryx products 2008 and and later will be made in china

The hood system is awesome...I just wear a turtle fur ninja mask, goggles and just wrap the hood around..my head never gets cold and it prevents any down draft from doing down your neck and back

Many people complain that the hand pockets are too high..but the fail to realize that they did this on purpose. this allows you to reach into your pockets while wearing a harness or a backback with the waist part buckled on.

Since the back is longer, it tends not to ride up or bunch up which is a plus! and you can even wear it as an dinner coat since the front is at normal length

I got it for $345 at REI and awesome customer service!
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