There are diamonds and there are coats like the Betheny: diamonds are pretty, but this jacket is pretty, plush AND warm. Damn near perfect, I tell you! I wandered into a shop a few weeks ago and tried this baby on at the behest of a smart friend. I was initially impressed with the fit and design -- super comfortable with fantastic range of movement and an intuitive, user-friendly layout with pockets in the right places and zippers that glide easily. Another mind-blowing feature are the fleece hand gaiters and their soft, non-intrusive fit that won't bind up my wrists inside of my gloves. The color is a wondrous red that pops but isn't Ski Patrol cherry red. All of the important spots that are often forgotten by manufacturers that usually produce dry, painful chafe are fleece-covered and soft! The attached powder skirt, unlike most coats, doesn't reside somewhere north of my belly-button but sits at my actual hips and attaches to ski pants without the routine base layer wedgie.
I'm thrilled with the underarm zips for dumping heat, the thick warmth without the bulk AND the fleece-lined upper neck section: there are two zippers for convenient spring skiing and the collar is wide to protect skin on frigid days. I'm 5'8" and 145-150 with long arms, long torso and small waistline but this coat covers everything, even on a deep bend (just in case you're curious about its yoga possibilities). I have a size Large and have lots of extra space around the torso for layering (just in case hell freezes over and I need it) and movement, but the sleeves are just the right length. There is, of course, a random zippered arm pocket just above the left sleeve opening that comes in surprisingly handy for holding cash, cell phone, season pass or any other of the random junk that accumulates. Lucky for me, it showed up under the tree this morning and will undoubtably rock my world during the endless powder days this season. The front panel zip pockets are fleece-lined and plush with interior waist pulls to eliminate the 'yank and crank' that exposes skin and kills mojo.
As a quick footnote to the girls worried about buying the puffy for bulk factor, don't even stress! I'm usually concerned about puffy jackets' extreme puffiness to the point that I've never owned one! This is thick and cozy without being 'thick' or running the risk of being mistaken as the Michelin Man. It also has great shape without projecting the diva persona that other women's ski coats do.
I wanted a coat that's warm, useful, smart and fairly good-looking, but ended up with the Jesus coat -- it's gonna save the world! Buy the Betheny.