Black Diamond's flagship midlayer, the First Light Stretch Hoody, has had a redesign. Despite being aimed perhaps at climbers pushing boundaries, or skiers on multi-day backcountry tours, the jacket has many qualities that make it ideally suited as a midlayer for any all mountain skier.
First up it's light and minimal. That, and packability, is really important on a long climb, but isn't it also really important when you get too hot just before the chairlift and have to stuff your midlayer in a small rucksack without it pushing you off the lift?
The versatility - in terms of who could get best use of it, as well as how many different scenarios you could use it in - is superb.
In terms of performance, the Primaloft Silver insulation combined with the Schoeller face fabric (with PFC-free DWR treatment) work a treat. The warming effect might be slightly hampered by a somewhat 'American' approach to sizing - size down for maximum effect! The cuffs also are very slightly wide - a possible weak point for cold air to enter - a bit more stretch there might be a good addition.
As you'd expect on a minimal piece, pockets are limited to two handwarmers, which is a bit of a shame as an internal pocket (maybe a stuff-pocket) would be welcome.
Otherwise, this is a nice, smart and technical jacket which comes in a variety of colours. The price is relatively high, but is competitive and brings great quality and versatility with it.