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Shell Versus Jacket: And the winner is.

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am sure i will take my fair share of abuse for this, but I want to pitch the idea that insulated ski jackets are better choices for most all resort skiers most of the time. ( And I m not including just posers in this category either) Does any body care? Well I care becasue I am likely going to upgrade my apparel this year--and I am struggling with the shell versus jacket choice, all the good choices are at least somewhat expensive and I want to make the right choice.

I am not a newbie to this---I know all the arguements for shells and layering. I have few older, but still technically competent shells that I layer with an insualtor. (A shell and a fleeece is just not warm enough for me.) My problem is that Decmeber-March I am wearing an overbuilt waterproof shell and an insulator, when 1 jacket would accomplish the same thing and would be less puffy, lighter and more manueverable. Granted nothing beats a shell for blue bird spring days--and of course back country trekking. Plus as was mentioend here on anotehr post here recently, many of these shells are overbuilt for water resistantcy. Now I've given up skiing in the rain long ago.

So my thesis is that shells are great for specific purposes like back country trekking and expeditions where water proff is vital, I recognize that they provide diversity, but jackets are a better alterantive most of teh time.

Ok attack if the subject stimulates any interest what so ever.

Best,

Blitz
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitz View Post
I am sure i will take my fair share of abuse for this, but I want to pitch the idea that insulated ski jackets are better choices for most all resort skiers most of the time. ( And I m not including just posers in this category either) Does any body care? Well I care becasue I am likely going to upgrade my apparel this year--and I am struggling with the shell versus jacket choice, all the good choices are at least somewhat expensive and I want to make the right choice.

I am not a newbie to this---I know all the arguements for shells and layering. I have few older, but still technically competent shells that I layer with an insualtor. (A shell and a fleeece is just not warm enough for me.) My problem is that Decmeber-March I am wearing an overbuilt waterproof shell and an insulator, when 1 jacket would accomplish the same thing and would be less puffy, lighter and more manueverable. Granted nothing beats a shell for blue bird spring days--and of course back country trekking. Plus as was mentioend here on anotehr post here recently, many of these shells are overbuilt for water resistantcy. Now I've given up skiing in the rain long ago.

So my thesis is that shells are great for specific purposes like back country trekking and expeditions where water proff is vital, I recognize that they provide diversity, but jackets are a better alterantive most of teh time.

Ok attack if the subject stimulates any interest what so ever.

Best,

Blitz
It may be a flashy jacket and great for colder weather . . . but I ain't wearin' the Bogner in the woods.

If you must have just one, the obvious choice is the shell - for versatilty. I just can't imagine life with just one jacket and one pair of skis. That said, some of the best skiers in my crew do exactly that - own one pair of skis and one jacket, and that one jacket is a shell.

Being a gear whore and a garment who as well, I have lots of choices. When the weather is really cold, I generally (but not always) go with the insulated jacket. Otherwise, it's a toss up.
post #3 of 16
I think you're right if you're talking about sitting on a chairlift and skiing directly down the mountain. For any kind of traversing, sidstepping, hiking, flat runouts an insulated jacket is just way too hot. I sweat like a pig though. I've got a TNF Belay jacket and the only time I've worn it for skiing was one day last winter when it got up to -5 degrees with about a 35mph wind.
post #4 of 16
I think just the opposite. as the OP feels. An insulated coat is too fixed a layering depth for me to use except for super cold days. Layering works best for me . It's easier to adjust.
post #5 of 16
Some of you folks just can't take yes for an answer. The posts from oboe, Jer, and Garry Z are essentially in agreement. For really cold days not in the woods, I usually (but NOT ALWAYS) go insulated jacket. Depends on what I'm doing that day. If in uniform, there's not a helluva lota choice except for what goes under the jacket - but if it's actually HOT and I'm working the never-evers, a uniform vest is as much as I'll agree to wear.
post #6 of 16
It depends somewhat on where you ski. Folks around here have to contend with some fairly warm temps, near the freezing mark, quite a bit. Then it'll get colder the next day with wind and driving snow. Another day you'll be skiing in a blizzard and you'll really want that waterproof feature for sure, because there's 18" of, admittedly, wet new snow and you're out to track it up. A shell works great for all of these conditions.

I don't get warm enough usually with a fleece layer, so I often wear two. Works great. I've skied in my Marmot shell in temps from the 40's F to -10 F. It worked well in each situation.

I've owned insulated coats in the past, in fact I have one now, but I don't use them any more. They just aren't flexible enough. My shell is designed to zip a fleece lining into it, but I never have. I don't see any reason for that. Just throw it on over the top of whatever insulation you choose and hit the hill.
post #7 of 16
I ski the north east and I favor a shell. I like the flexibility, I just change the type of fleece I wear to the temp.keeps it simple and light.
post #8 of 16
I use a north face apex bionix soft shell and for the really cold days I layer a lot... It's not the norm, but it works for me and it allows me lots of room for movement..
post #9 of 16

Jacket or Shell

I always take 2, a shell and a parka which is lined.

Cold (like 20 to -15) where the Parka.

Other days if I am off piste I wear the shell and layer accordingly.

If for some reason I am just doing groomers or teaching on groomers and it is cold I wear the parka.

Parka is just too warm for hiking, traverses and long treks back to the lifts etc.
post #10 of 16
I ski in lift-serviced Ontario Canada. I have an insulated jacket. If it gets too hot I unzip it. If it gets hotter than that I take it off. Simple and effective.
post #11 of 16
The zipper on my shell busted last year, so I'm looking for a replacement and seriously thinking about an insulated jacket. A lot of my skiing is limited to nights and the chair lift rides can get pretty nippy. I'll always want shell for warmer weather/hiking. So I guess I agree with the initial post.
post #12 of 16
Eat a couple burgers & get a shell.
post #13 of 16
OK, I'll bite.

There is no real advantage to an insulated jacket.

To the op, you say you understand layering, yet you mention being cold in a shell/fleece combo. Thats not layering. Layering is about versatility, and creating air pockets between the layers. Air is the best insulator. Your layering for a freezing cold day should be a thin wicking base layer, a slightly thicker wicking mid layer, and a heavy insulation layer, total thickness is less than most fleece jackets. I've skied in -20F and been fine like this (well except my toes, but thats another story. I find I'm most comfortable overall if I'm just a tiny bit cold on the lift.

You mention waterproofness, even in bounds none hiking skiing, this is important, the heat from your body will melt snow thats on you while you sit on the chairlift and you will get wet if you're just wearing nylon.

More important though, is breathability. You'll get very wet if you overheat and sweat, then you'll be cold all day long. Insulated jackets do not breathe. Shells also have better ventalation like pit zips.



I think insulated jackets are probably great for beginer tourists that spend their time on the greens. Not that there is anythign wrong with that, but those people never really get their blood pumping. They are ussually from warmer places, and used to warmer weather, and don't really exert themselves, so have trouble staying warm. Also, they are probably overwhelmed by all the gear, so an insulated jacket is simplier.

If you're actually exerting yourself, and skiing in pow, slush and storms, and everything in between, shell hands down.
post #14 of 16
Skiing in powder or in a storm I would much rather have a shell. You will get soaked if you don't have the zipper done up or try skiing with no jacket, and it's too hot to batten down an insulated jacket.
post #15 of 16
I have one of each.

I always used a shell, and if I could have only one, it would remain a shell. But on really cold days in a resort, I didn't like the sausage-casing feeling of all those layers. I find it much more comfy to wear fewer layers under an insulated jacket.

My insulated jacket has pit zips, so if I do go uphill or something, it's not so bad.

I tend to run cold, though, so YMMV.

As for being a tourist on the greens, well, not so much. As I said, some of us run cold, so even when we exert, it just brings us up to your normal temperature (yes, I'm female). And I never wear cotton next to my skin, so even if I sweat, it isn't a problem.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
As I said, some of us run cold, so even when we exert, it just brings us up to your normal temperature (yes, I'm female).
Very good point. I haven't skied in an insulated jacket since I was a kid and am usually trying to figure out how to dress so as not to get too warm. My wife on the other hand, wears way more layers than me plus an insulated jacket, and is usually still cold.

So... whatever keeps you comfortable.
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