The North Face calls their Fuseform Brigandine 3L a lightweight and low-profile jacket appropriate for activities such as skinning uphill. We would have to disagree with that characterization, but instead feel like it is the ultimate resort skiing hardshell, awarding it our Top Pick for that purpose. Weighing in as the second heaviest jacket in this review, we hardly feel like it is worth lugging around in the backcountry — but with weight comes warmth, a highly prized commodity while riding the lifts in a frigid storm.
A full "Steep Series" feature set includes double internal stash pockets, an internal phone pocket with media port, an integrated powder skirt, a forearm pocket with goggle-wipe, not to mention handwarmer pockets and chest pockets. This set of features really cements the Fuseform Brigandine 3L as a top-of-the-line ski jacket, while also eliminating it from an sort of serious consideration as a climbing or mountaineering jacket. Since our grading system is designed to find the best all-around hardshell for all activities, this contender is understandably not one of the highest rated jackets. But if you are in the market for a hardshell primarily for hitting the lifts, you won't find a better option.
You protect your torso, so why not protect your legs? The North Face Fuseform Brigandine 3L Pants are an excellent addition to any hiking quiver, though they don't come cheap. For $499, the same price as the jacket, you can expect the same great performance and DryVent membrane and face fabrics as the jacket to give your entire body the protection it deserves.