Are expensive Gore-Tex ski jackets worth it?
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
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For downhill skiing, I just can’t get that excited about spending $400 for a ski shell. To me, that’s overkill. I mean, if it’s snowing, then the snow will usually bounce off before it melts. And if it’s raining…well, I don’t ski in the rain, so I wouldn’t know. Life is just too short to put up with that! So in my world, Gore-Tex is almost irrelevant in a downhill jacket. Maybe less so in pants, as you’ll likely be planting your rear on melted snow on the chairlift.
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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