A:Mountain Hardwears Descent DT Trifecta ($325; www.mountainhardwear.com) is really quite a nice piece. As you know, its a three-in-one jacket, meaning it consists of a waterproof-breathable shell (using Mountain Hardwares proprietary Conduit material) and an insulated nylon-shelled lining that can be zipped out. You can wear both jacket and lining on cold days, or the jacket alone on warmer, wet days, or the lining alone. You also can zip several other Mountain Hardwear insulating pieces into the outer jacket.
So it would work just fine. But theres no evidence that buying a mated" outfit like the Descent offers any more warmth and performance than anything else. Myself, I prefer a stand-alone shell over a ski-bag full of clothing options, so I can really tailor what Im wearing to conditions. You could, for instance, purchase a Patagonia Jetstream Jacket ($199; www.patagonia.com), a waterproof-breathable piece thats designed for all sorts of uses, from skiing to hiking to around town. Then, wear whatever you want under it, such as a Mountain Hardwear Monkey Pro Pullover ($135), or a Marmot Womens Cima Sweater ($60; www.marmot.com), or a The North Face Redpoint Jacket ($149; www.thenorthface.com), which uses PrimaLoft insulation and is an extremely good layering piece for skiing.
But as I said, you wont go wrong with the Descent.
Get more advice from the Gear Guy as he picks this seasons top gifts in Away.coms Holiday Gift Guide. Youll probably find a few things to put on your own wish list, too.