With the downhill ski season quickly approaching, I'm looking for a new shell-type jacket to replace my current insulated jacket, one that will work in almost any weather with appropriate layering (to be worn primarily in Vermont and New Hampshire, where rain is an occasional factor, but not a daily occurrence). Basically, I'm wondering if the 400-plus Gore-Tex jackets (like the Arc'Teryx Javelin SV or XCR Sidewinder SV) are really worth it, or if I'd be just as happy 99 percent of the time with a soft shell. Erik Hoboken, New Jersey
Plus, I confess that although I've invested a fair amount of money in my downhill kit over the years, my upper shell has stayed the same since about 1995an old Patagonia anorak with that company's proprietary H2NO coating. It fits well, it's comfortable, it even looks sorta styling. Alas, Patagonia quit making it years ago.
Incidentally, Patagonia does make a pretty good all-around ski jacketwith Gore-Tex. It's called the Liquid Sky and sells for a very reasonable $299. A nicely designed all-mountain jacket (www.patagonia.com).
Meanwhile, look out for me on the slopes, the guy in the slightly faded, purple and orange anorak.
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