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What everyone else said about uninsulated shells and layered insulation -
it's the only sane way to go. I vastly prefer mountaineering oriented
clothes and manufacturers rather than skiwear manufacturers. Despite the
sometimes higher cost, I find the stuff from North Face, Patagonia,
Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Moonstone, and Arc'teryx much more functional
and bombproof. The outerwear from the skiwear manufacturers always struck
me as being loaded with semi-useless whistles and bells, making them a lot
heavier than they need be, and more concerned with being a fashion
statement. I find the armpit zips on my Mtn. Hardware shell *much* more
useful than the three small zippered slash pockets (that were in addition
to the two large and two medium pockets) on a Spyder jacket my friend once had.

Regarding the hydrophobic coating and water repellency, don't be afraid to
wash the shells every so often. Dirt compromises both the coating and the
efficiency of the breathable layer. Just use a powdered laundry soap (the
liquid ones have a surfactant that tends to remove the hydrophobic coating)
and dry on high temp. Nikwax makes a really good soap, Tech Wash, and has a
soak/wash-in product that restores the water repellency that works great. I
use it once a season on my shells.

-Marc

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