Spring skiing can often be a smorgasbord of conditions, with cold nights and warm days setting up the perfect recipe for peel-a-way corn conditions. The timing means you’ll likely start your day touring in the cold and dark, shoving your hands into the snow as you toss in a whippet or ice axe for security, hanging out on summits (hopefully with a small crew given the COVID pandemic), skiing, then perhaps slogging in the heat to lower elevations and out of danger while the sun wreaks havoc upon the snow.
In short, you’ll encounter all sorts of temperatures. Below are a few options of gloves that work well—each comes with a unique attribute of warmth, sweat management, dexterity, and ability to keep your paws warm while having an après beer.
Flip it and rip it. It’s kind of the motto for these sleek softshell gloves, which have a Pertex mitt hood to hold in warmth and hide from weather and wind when conditions change. The gloves have 100 grams of Primaloft Insulation that provides a bit of heat without being too toasty. They’re designed for ski touring, but are also great for chilly trail runs and bike rides. The hood option is super useful for spring ski touring, you’ll find a flip of the mitt is perfect for the descent.
Handmade in the small town of Randolph, Vermont this hearty goatskin leather glove is tough as nails. They’re a little pricey for a leather glove, but since you’re supporting a small company – who just pivoted to make COVID-19 facemasks – and given they’ll likely last much longer than a Kinco, it’s worth the investment. Attributes like the location of seams stitched along the fingertips to reinforce areas of common wear-and-tear make this glove stand apart. So does the comfortable fit and additional wool liner for cold days. I’ve used this glove for hauling wood, shoveling, skiing, driving my tractor and snowblower all in the same day. They may smell like diesel, but I love them.
These polyester and nylon gloves are ideal for ski touring and I used them all winter—reserving them for the up and transitioning to a warmer and drier glove for the shredding. They’re lightweight and breathable, and with the Windstopper GORE material they hold their own for sunny and warm ski runs too. They have a neoprene cuff that helps them stay secure and a water-resistant goatskin palm. If there’s one knock to the gloves, it’s that after a year of heavy use, the goatskin palm will begin to peel off from the interaction with climbing skin glue.
This glove is ideal for everyday skiing at the resort as well as touring. And though they’re not designed explicitly for spring, the Tough Guy glove from Flylow is such a workhouse that not having a pair in your pack while on a corn skiing mission just seems silly. It’s mid-May and just last weekend I was hanging atop a line with these on, as I waited for the snow to soften. The pigskin leather is impeccably treated with SnoSeal water repellant and has Spaceloft micropuff insulation to keep you warm. When the temperature ticks up, the fabric backing on the glove allows it to breathe rather than feel clammy, and they insulate a cold beer on your palm at the end of the day. At just over 20 bucks, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better utility glove.
Spring skiing isn’t always sunshine and unicorns. Sometimes it means damp campsites, and dark and early mornings—if you can call 3:30 a.m. alarms morning… This is where the wool mitten comes into play, as it’s perfect for when it gets chilly after the sun goes down and you don’t want to pack a big winter mitt. The leather palm provides some dexterity and grip for when you’re milling around with gear, and the 100 percent virgin swiss wool is warm even when wet. Though, if it’s pounding snow you’ll likely want to wear something with more waterproofing.