Cold hands and fingers can easily ruin a day on the mountain, and unless you are okay with skipping out on some free powder shots and untouched moguls, heading inside to warm up isn’t an option. So let’s start from the beginning and buy the right pair of gloves for the right conditions.
We tested mittens and gloves with both skiers and snowboarders, on mild days and on powder days during the 2017-2018 ski season at Arapahoe Basin, Vail Ski Resort, Keystone Resort, and Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado, as well as Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. We determined which are the best warm, breathable, and waterproof pairs that fit just right and have all the amenities you want.
Best Overall Mitten: Black Crows Moufla
The small, goatskin mittens with the classic Black Crows chevron insignia don’t appear to be much of anything special by appearance, but slipping them on is a dream. The inside is soft with an internal glove, so your fingers don’t get sweaty and sticky if you do heat up a bit, and the loop to pull them on is genius. Not all of the gloves or mittens had this seemingly insignificant feature, but the loop makes getting the first and even the second mitten on extremely easy. The neoprene cuffs are loose enough to not feel constricted but don’t create any bulk nor does the simple and shorter wrist strap. Fingers and hands stayed warm with Primaloft insulation and mobility was stellar when it came to buckling up bindings or grabbing poles. The only feature that was lacking in the Moufla was a nose wipe. Available in XS-XL and three different color ways. $139.95 | black-crows.com
Best for Cold and Windy Days: Burton Deluxe Gore-Tex Mitt
The Burton Deluxe Gore-Tex Mitt is a large-cuffed, waterproof, windproof and breathable mitten. It includes removable glove liners, which were handy when having a snack on the chair or needing extra dexterity for bindings. The inside of the mitten is a very soft microfiber lining, and if worn without the inner glove liners, fingers got sweaty and sticky. The wrist strap is long and stretchy, and the cuff cinches with a toggle but is also easy to release (other gloves and mittens tested could cinch to tighten, but didn’t have an easy alternative toggle to release). The mitten includes a cinch strap and a zipper pocket on the top for a hand warmer packet. These do have a nose wipe, which is one of my favorite features, and dexterity was good overall. Available in XS-L and in a variety of colorways. $84.95 | burton.com
Best Pricepoint: 686 Paige Mitt
The 686 Paige Mitt won’t keep your fingers warm on extremely cold days, but on a regular, mid-temperature day on the mountain, the Paige Mitt will do just fine. They are mid-level for waterproof and breathability (10,000mm waterproof and 10,000 gm2 breathable) and have a light fill for insulation. The features, though, are all there: lengthy wrist strap, leather palm and nose wipe, medium-sized cuff with cinch and release capabilities, and a small, tightening wrist strap on top. Sizes include S-L and are available in a variety of colorways. $40 | 686.com
Best Overall Glove: Dakine Continental Glove
These powerhouse gloves will be best for cold, windy, and snowy days — my fingers stayed warm on a windy day at Breckinridge with temperatures nearing single digits. The Dakine Continental Glove, new for this season, is a waterproof and breathable glove made from a durable workwear fabric on the top as well as a soft leather knuckle and palm overlay, which didn’t tear as I was cruising around trees (unlike the palms of other gloves that didn’t make the cut). The wrist cuff is long enough to go over a jacket, with an easy-to-use cinch and release toggle. The leash is stretchy and long with a fitted circle for your wrist. Bonus: the inner fleece lining can be removed to air out and wash, though the lining did hinder dexterity slightly. Sizes include small, medium, and large. $120 | dakine.com
Best Mobility: Hestra Heli Ski Glove
The Hestra Heli Ski Gloves were ranked just behind the Dakine Continentals, with rank basically coming down to nuances between testers. The Hestras are waterproof and breathable, and very warm with a large cuff and a removable fleece liner like the Dakine’s, though the Hestra’s had more mobility. The leash is where testers opinions differed. The Hestra leash is shorter, with a thick and non-adjustable cuff that goes around your wrist. For testers using base layers with thumb loops, that wasn’t ideal. Besides that, the gloves have a wrist strap on the bottom as well as an easy cinch-and-release toggle for the cuff. The upper is a heathered, flexible material and the palm is durable goat leather. The gloves are available from size 7-13 and are available in a variety of colors. $130 | hestragloves.com
Best for Backcountry: Black Diamond Helio Three-In-One Gloves
The Helio gloves by Black Diamond are extremely versatile. You get an insulated and waterproof Gore-Tex shell, plus a removable, lightweight and water-resistant liner that has a grippy palm and fingers. Wear just the shell for warmth and protection, just the liner for warmer conditions or when you need some grip, or both when conditions are extreme, though as expected, dexterity is compromised with both layers on. The gloves also include a nose wipe, top wrist strap, and a cinch-and-release toggle for the larger wrist cuff. These gloves are unisex, so ladies should consider sizing down (most of the gloves tested were a women’s medium; these are a men’s small). Sizes include XS-XL. $199.95 | blackdiamondequipment.com