This is the very best snowboarding shell
I tested out many high-end ski/snowboard jackets from Burton, Oakley, Spyder, Salomon, Scott, Mamut, The North Face, Arc'Teryx, Marmot and others. The Arc'Teryx Stingray was the best jacket based on my selection criteria (not in any particular order):
1) Fully waterproof, highly windproof, highly breathable - Essential for comfort and health. The Stringray is totally waterproof even in pouring rain, and very windproof as well. Despite this, it breaths very well, preventing buildup of sweat. If condidtions get really warm you can unzip the Stingray's pit vents.
2) Layerable - As conditions and temperatures change, you want the ability to add/remove layers as needed. Therefore, instead of getting a jacket with built-in insulation, your system is more adaptable if you instead have a high quality set of layers, starting with a high quality outer shell.
3) Ergonomic - You want to make sure that you can easily rotate your head (to look behind you, for instance) when the jacket hood is up and cinched over your helmet, such as in storm conditions. Amazingly, while most high-end jackets claim to be helmet-compatible, you'll find in actual tests that many of them severely limit the ease of looking behind you if the hood is cinched over your helmet. The reason for this is often a matter of simple mechanics, that most hoods are seamlessly joined with the jacket body, where the lower region of the hood is also the neck of the jacket. The Stingray is unique in that the hood itself is disjointed from the body. The Stringray jacket has an actual neck, distinct from the hood, which makes it possible to easily look behind you when the hood is up and cinched over your helmet. Another area critical to articulation is the ability to raise your arms without causing the jacket waist hem to raise. Finally, you need a waist hem that isn't too low, as it can bind below your butt when you're in a crouched position (a common stance when boarding). This jacket Stingray jacket nails all of these requirements.
4) Lightweight - The Stringray is light enough for my purposes. I was able to find lighter weight shells (one incredibly light shell made by Scott, the Crusair) but they didn't satisfy the Articulation requirements, particularly for head motion. If you're careful with your layering components, you'll net a huge difference in weight vs. a cheaper setup, which makes for a much freer feel on the mountain.
5) Powderskirt - The powderskirt on the Stingray is easily adjusted with bunjees, and quite effective when you're buried in pow. The Stringray's powderskirt isn't removable, which may be viewed as this jacket's single disadvantage (as it would then be a nicer year-round jacket). However making the powderskirt removable would require a zipper which would increase the shell's weight. So if you're looking for a jacket for the sole purpose of boarding/skiing, then this is an advantage to you and not a disadvantage.
6) Good pocket real estate - The front two pockets on this jacket are insanely gigantic. That being said, they're designed so well - they don't get in the way at all. All of the pockets are easily opened/closed when wearing mittens.
7) Passive sensors - If you're going for a high-end jacket then you might as well get one that has sensors built in so they can find your body before the Spring thaw.
8) Fit - I'm 6 ft. 164 lbs. athletic build and this jacket is an absolutely perfect fit for me in size Large. Fit and ergonomics go hand in hand.
9) Quiet - Many of the high-end jackets are also incredibly noisy. They make you sound like you're waving newspapers as you move about. The Stringray doesn't make any such rackets, which is nice both on the mountain and when you're wearing it around town.
Have put in one season so far with this jacket and am thoroughly pleased. It has fulfilled all of my expectations and more (it's even more wind-proof than I expected). On warmer days I find myself wearing just a t-shirt beneath the shell which makes for an incredibly light setup.
As a Gore-tex fan since it's inception in the 70's, I've had many shells. Ten years ago good Gore-tex ski jackets were hard to find and I have suffered since with a Bogus-tex sheel. The new Stingray brought me back into the fold. It's light and warm like most GTX garments but not as "crunchy" as some of the climbing shells which makes it nice for daily use too. Details are good; hood works great with or without a helmet, collar isn't loose but allows you to dive in when windy, fit is slim but still roomy. Only gripe is limited pockets although with the kids grown, I can probably go skiing with less junk. Pretty pricey but I see it as a good 10 year investment.
As Expected From Arcteryx
I decided to set myself up with Arcteryx Stingray pants and jacket for this last year's ski season. As expected very high quality for skiing the resorts and side country, and couldn't be better zipping the vents open to do some skinning.
I am a typical 6'0" 180lbs. The jacket size I went with was a large. This gives me plenty of layer room. If I were thinking about a spring jacket, for hiking I would definitely look into a medium, but for the winter months the large was perfect.
No restriction anywhere in the jacket...ie shoulders, arms, elbows, waist etc.
Was not too excited about seeing the visa bill come after making the purchase, but looking back would do it again. Well worth it.
Best skiing jacket I've owned
Very high quality Gore-tex shell. Fits well and is built well. One of the best features about this jacket is the hood. It is cut so that it does not restrict your vision while skiing. It also will stay over your helmet all day without blowing off. The soft-shell version of the Gore-tex is nice because it provides stretch without compromising waterproofness. Don't expect this jacket to be warm. I recommend using the entire 3 piece layering system from arcteryx if you plan on using this jacket for skiing. Over all it is very versatile; use of the vents regulates temperature well.
great on mountain jacket
I have had this jacket for several years- and it is one of my favorites. I use it primarily for resort skiing, and i appreciate the soft shell material, the Gore-tex, and the micro fleece backer that keeps you just a bit warmer than a straight shell. This is cut a bit roomier than a typical Arcteryx jacket- i think if I reordered, I would definitely order a large vs an xl. I am a product tester for Gore-tex, but I purchased this for my personal use.
Best Weather Gear
2 days after purchasing this we "enjoyed" windy, sleeting, cold weather. I went for a walk specifically to test this coat. It scored an A+. It kept me totally dry, surprising warm (with just a mid-weight fleece underneath) and I didn't feel the wind at all. It fits neatly but is constructed to allow freedom of movement. Sure, it's pricey vs. other coats but I find the attention to details makes it a strong value.
This is my first Arcteryx soft shell. I have a few other jacket from them and as always the craftsmanship is impeccable.
Excellent for skiing in wind
Use for sownhill skiing