Getting the right gear on makes a huge impact on how you feel about your day on the mountain. Doesn't matter what season, doesn't matter what time of day, doesn't matter what terrain, if you don't have the right gear, it can be frustrating, exhausting, and annoying.
That's not why you went outside.
Let's make sure you've got the right hand protection during your winter sports. We've got two contenders for the best gear.
Are you Team Gloves or Team Mittens?
They both have their appeal. They both do the job well, but what do you prefer?
Here's my breakdown of what I like and why.
Gloves give you the full hand feel of each finger being wrapped in cozy warmth and still being able to easily grab, pass, or hold. It lets your hand be a hand, and do hand things.
It makes for a great muffled high five, it can build and launch a snowball (overhead or sidearm), and it can grip a cold refreshing can of......water. (Have you seen canned water yet? It's a thing!) You can point out your path, and you can shake your fist at a Jerry. The glove is a wonderful fit!
But mittens, don't gloss over mittens!
Something about a mitten just feels so good.
Your hand is free to move inside, your fingers freely rub against one another, and you can close your hand to hold the warmth right inside. It does feel really good!
You do lose some of the utility of your hand though. Grabbing requires two hands now. You can try to hold with one, but you're not going to want to rely on that when you're on the lift. Passing something also becomes a dance of grip and hand placement.
You don't have much hand use with a mitten, but it does feel really, really good.
I slept on mittens for a good portion of my adult life.
I thought I was too sophisticated to wear mittens. Mittens are for kids!
My wife convinced me otherwise though. She had been a mitten fan from the beginning, but I insisted on gloves. That's ok though. Opposites attract.
I had bought her a new pair of gloves at one time convinced that what I knew was superior to her childish mitten ways. She accepted them lovingly, even wore them twice, and then they got stashed in the bottom of the boot bag end pocket with the extra laces, binding screws, and emergency hand warmers.
The old mittens returned.
Until one day, when I forgot my gloves, and no, gloves were not an option. My wife dug through the boot bag to find anything that would suffice, and she found the new gloves she had stashed away earlier in the season.
The gloves wouldn't fit me though. Not even close.
We had to switch. She put on the new gloves, not satisfied, but committed to a solution, and I wore the old mittens. I could fit into them, and as long as I didn't fully open my hand, they fit comfortably.
The mittens were so good, that at the end of the day, I went and bought new mittens right at the base lodge.
I converted to Team Mittens.
I still own a pair of good winter gloves. They have their time and place.
If I'm outside playing in the yard with the kids, gloves it is. Cleaning off the car is a gloves job. It's much easier using the keys in gloves too.
When I ride, I'm in my mittens.
My trick is that I wear a pair of thin gloves inside my mittens. I tend to get warm, so on the lift, I take my mittens off (wrist straps secured) and cool off slightly with my thin gloves on. This makes it easier to hydrate, snack, or check my phone. Of course, they have touch screen fingertips! When my hands get cold, back into the mitten oven they go.
The question remains.