Whether you are cruising on corduroy, lapping the park or shredding powder, a decent pair of gloves or mittens is essential for keeping warm as your hands are usually the first thing to get cold on the hill.
For many people, choosing between gloves or mittens is down to personal preference. Gloves will give you a bit more dexterity for picking up your poles or putting your goggles on, while mittens tend to be warmer than gloves as your fingers produce more body heat when next to each other. If you are unsure my advise would be to try both types on and if you are a skier hold a ski pole to see which feels more comfortable and gives you a nice grip.
The key things to consider before purchasing either models are the specifications. Do they fit well? How waterproof are they? Are they windproof and breathable?
To stop your fingers from freezing, it is important to get a pair which fits. If you go too small and your fingers are pressing on the end the cold will sooner seep into your finger tips and moisture is more likely to get inside the lining. If you go too big there will be a lot of space to fill with wasted body heat and you’ll lose some dexterity with the extra material. I would recommend trying a few on to get the best fitting pair.
One of the most important features to look at is the waterproof rating because no matter how insulated your gloves are, if your hands get wet there is no stopping them getting cold. (This is even more important for snowboarders who tend to have more frequent hand contact with the snow). Most waterproof ratings for snow wear will range between 5,000ml and 20,000ml. I would advise an absolute minimum of 5K which will give you only some resistance to water. 10K plus for general conditions would be better but 20K plus is essential to keep you dry in wetter conditions.
Many ski and snowboard brands including Patagonia and Salomon use Gore Tex technology which guarantees to keep your hands dry with an equivalent rating of 28K. Gore Tex is also breathable and windproof which enable temperature control of your hands in all conditions. This is just as important as the waterproofing as it helps prevent your gloves getting wet from the inside with sweat. You may find the use of Gore Tex adds a bit to the price tag however it is worth every penny. If you are looking for something more affordable, other brands have their own waterproofing and breathable technology including Dakine’s DK Dry which I am currently using and has held up strong in all conditions from +10C and sunny to -15C and snowy
Then once you have narrowed it down to which specific features you want in a pair of gloves or mitts, the exciting part is choosing which design. Happy pickings!
Thanks Louise for the advice!by