not talking shit about these other companies like HS and Trew, or whoever else wants to at least look forward with outerwear design - these guys ARE on the right track.
i see these companies as kind of bridging the gap between resort riding and BC. i imagine lots of the kids that want to have something that will work as they start to get into the backcountry will get this kind of gear and be happy with it, because it IS better than anything with a liner... it just isn't as good as real mountaineering gear.
so if you just ride lifts, or are a grom who thinks they need to look "cool" (neon, patchwork, retarded) in the BC i think that stuff would work just fine - give em 5 years and if they strive to improve their product they could be great.
if you are about comfort and stability in real life or death survival situations, then get the shit that has been proven for 15+ years. you won't see any snowboards in their ads
Essentially, you wrote a book about the one statement I made in my post, "Granted it hasn't become a proven brand in terms of longevity," but I certainly understand your commitment to Arc and you definitely can't argue with GT performance as I've used it greatly.
I know people who have used the HS garments extensively in various conditions for almost 2 years and stand by them, saying they are just as breathable as any GT garments they've had and so far seem to be as durable (just need another year or two to really determine). Considering I lucked up with one of their highest-end (22,000/20,000) shells for $65 back in May, I'm definitely stoked to put it to the duration test.
Regarding them being on the right track, I agree, and will add that I'm not sure I would have given them a shot without the steal I managed to stumble upon. Imo though, they have very tame designs and color ways, so I'm not sure what you meant by the "look cool" statements. I'm also not a mountaineer, so I also enjoy that these cats ARE snowboarders trying to create a solid apparel company FOR snowboarders. Again, I'm fortunate to get this particular jacket for approximately 80% less than most would have to pay, but if we don't give POTENTIALLY great tech a shot, the Arc's of the industry that have no competition will always be able to charge significantly higher prices than necessary for quality goods.
I'll be in WA for a while in January. Maybe we can ride if you're around.
EDIT: I hadn't thought of HS's warranty info yet because, well, look what I paid for the jacket. Anyway, I checked and it appears that it is the same as Arc's, which is great. Of course, Arc's has been extensively used and proven over time. Never really know if how a company is going translate "defects in materials or workmanship."