Gloves are an indispensable part of your kit for a great day on the hill- but where to begin? Gloves and Mitts come in many different shapes and sizes with a variety of features depending on the conditions which you are skiing or riding in. The first decision is: gloves or mitts? Gloves, by far the most popular choice, can allow for more dexterity so skiers tend to lean towards a glove. Mitts tend to be warmer, and are preferred by skiers and boarders that suffer with the cold a little more. With mitts you are willing to lose some of the convenience of a glove for the extra heat gained by your hand being all in one air-space. However, it's all up to individual preference.
Let's talk about warmth. Gloves and mitts are designed to keep your hands warm, even on the coldest of days, and lighter weights are available for those warmer spring afternoons. Gloves and mitts are constructed with an insulator to keep hands warm- but what type of insulator do you need? The warmest way to insulate a glove is with duck or goose down (as used by Polar explorers) which is available in a select few ski and snowboard gloves, but the price will reflect this. Below down filled gloves, Primaloft is now regarded as the best way to insulate a glove providing excellent warmth but with very little insulator allowing for excellent comfort and dexterity in a very warm glove or mitt.
Now that you know the facts about keeping your hands warm and dry, let's get down to the details. Make sure you chose a glove that is durable, as you want it to last. Full leather gloves can be a popular choice when it comes to durability as the material does not break down or wear out as quickly although they do need treating with leather cleaner and cannot be machine washed. If you ever see older skiers on the mountain that have done a lot of skiing for a lot years you will notice they all wear leather gloves and they will have probably had the same pair for years.
A lot of the staff here at Sail and Ski invested in good leather or at least part leather gloves several years ago and we are all still skiing in the same gloves today! Part leather gloves start at about £50.00 and full leather from £75.00 rising to around £150.00. Brands such as Hestra are synonymous with leather gloves producing arguably the best ski and snowboard gloves on the market Other materials used for gloves are soft shell, a very supple and comfortable material normally very good quality and priced between £50.00 and £75.00. Nylon is the other commonly used outer fabric. It is easily combined with a Gore-Tex membrane and is a very cost effective way to get a quality glove for under £50.00.
Along with the standard glove, there are pipe gloves - originally designed for spring use or those who like to play in the park. These gloves are not as waterproof or warm as other gloves, but nice and light to use and just keep the cold of touching the snow away when there is not so much of a nip in the air. Let's not forget style- there are endless possibilities out there if you are looking for something funky, fresh and cool.
If you prefer another layer under your gloves, there is a wide range of glove liners out there to suit your needs. Silk is the most popular and effective for that added warmth as silk is the warmest material for its thickness. Some of our glove even come with extra liners included in the price to and are ideal for those who suffer with the cold. Having glove liners will also make regular washing of gloves easier as you can simply wash the liner without affecting the waterproofing of the outer glove and keep your gloves smelling nice and fresh!
Like all ski and snowboard products, gloves are coming out with new and unique technology to keep your hands toasty and dry. Heated gloves such as Hestra and Thermic can provide up to eight hours of heat powered by a lithium battery in the glove and whilst they have a price tag that make most people wince, those that suffer with really cold hands would pay this happily to make their days more enjoyable!
If you just can't stay away from your mobile whilst on the hill, many brands are creating smartphone technology on the fingertips. Brands such as Burton Gloves now have "touchtec" on the finger tips of all of their gloves now.