There are differing schools of thought on this and it actually gets pretty damn technical depending on who you're talking to, what they're doing outside and where the are doing it. Some people like soft shells after a base and mid layer, others like a puffy insulated jacket to throw over that and despise outer hard shells.
Others like the base/mid (fleece or wool)/waterproof shell. I like this system because I like hard shells even though they don't breathe for shit (and yes this even goes for eVent and Gore-tex). But that is because I don't want to buy a bunch of jackets for each outdoor thing that I do. So a hard shell works good for me all around if I do run into inclement weather hiking or fishing or snowboarding. However, if I just bought the jacket for snowboarding, I'd probably go with something more breathable like a thick soft shell for my outer layer.
I've never been a fan of insulated jackets because they simply lack versatility for me. I have a 40g jacket that I rarely wear because I over heat very easily in it. Actually, I just wear a poly/cotton blend hoodie over a base layer (and sometimes a super thin fleece) for about 75 percent of my riding just because I like the breatheability of it.
Aside from all that rambling, just Google layering system and you'll find a bunch of stuff on it. FWIW, my wife gets cold skiing VERY easily, and has had good success with both a big puffy insulated jacket and her 3-in-1 Columbia. Over a base and mid-layer, of course. Edit: I don't mean she wears both the puffy and the Columbia, but either/or.
There are people here who know much, much more about this than I do. Just keep in mind that nobody has an end-all be-all answer on this because of all the variables involved. A lot of it is trial and error.
Last edited by trapper; 11-04-2013 at 01:31 PM.