It will be important to have a good pair of gloves while riding. Your hands will have a high chance of getting wet from strapping in and standing up or sitting down so it is important to have a pair of gloves that will be water proof. Your gloves will also need to be really durable for using tow ropes or if your going to be grabbing your boards sharp steel edges. There are a few general categories of gloves so it is important to know what conditions and temperatures you will be riding in to get the right ones.
Pipe gloves are a very thin glove and are usually for freestyle riders. These gloves work better for freestyle riders because they are going to be in the terrain park a lot moving around and generating a lot of their own heat. But they are also good a types of riders for spring riding conditions. Because they are so thin they have really good dexterity. Most will have silicone on the palm to provide good grip with the board. It is a good light weight and flexible option for protecting your hands.
The basic glove is going to be much more insulated. The outer “shell” fabric, usually Gortex, is going to be waterproof and breathable. On the inside there will be poly-fill insulation. The poly-fill is going to be what keeps the warmth up in the glove. This structure of the glove will still allow for the glove to be dexterous and they will still have good palm grip and durability.
Mittens are going to be the best option for colder temperatures. Keeping the figures together helps to keep in warmth by preventing the wind from moving through the fingers individually and taking away a lot of heat. This type of glove will be particularity nice for anyone with circulation problems or for women who generally have a harder time keeping warm. The outer shell of mittens is also going to be Gortex to make it waterproof and breathable and grip on the palms. Most mittens will have a vent for hand warmer packs for the really cold days.
A convertible system is either a glove or mitten that has a liner glove inside. The liner is removable and will work great by itself on warmer days. Some liners will have a silicone grip like the pipe gloves. They are very dexterous so they work great for on the chair lift when needing more ample use of your fingers without exposing your hands to the cold air. On the really cold days the liner gloves are extra insulation to the shell glove or mitten. The convertible gloves or mittens will be able to keep your hands comfortable throughout a wider range of conditions.
Some other features of the glove or mittens will vary between brands and models. Some will have a jacket gauntlet. It can be used over or under a jacket sleeve, but it is designed to be big enough to go over the sleeve. Then with one pull on the cord running through the gauntlet it will cinch tight around the sleeve to prevent any snow from getting in. Some will have a thinner gauntlet to fit under the cuff of the jacket sleeve.
It is important to know that generally with a mitten or glove you get what you pay for. So comparing prices with other gloves will usually tell you which is a higher quality.
Extremities have the least amount of blood flow in your body, so keeping them warm is of the utmost importance for hours of fun on the slopes. The best way to keep your hands warm is knowing which snowboard gloves best suit your needs and sticking with the reputable brands like Burton, Dakine or Celtek.
Most gloves nowadays have some type of box cut finger and articulation of the hand. This yields a better fit, better wrap and just plain enhances the overall comfort of the glove. Such designs also allow room for insulation in the glove to further enhance the wamth factor. Fabrics used in gloves are very similar, if not the same, as those used in jackets and pants – waterproof coating on outside combined with a waterproof membrane on the inside.
Some gloves even have a vent on the back of the hand, which improves air circulation on the inside. Gloves with a vent are best for those who tend to get clammy or sweaty hands on the slopes. On the other end of the spectrum, mittens are ideal for those with cold hands (ladies!).
A glove that fits well should allow you to strap in and out of your bindings smoothly. It should feel comfortable and not restrict movement too much. If it’s too big or too small, hands will not stay warm, nor will they be happy. If it’s too small, the glove will have tendency to bunch up in the fingers, while dexterity and comfort will be lost. If the glove is too big, the extra material will feel bulky and the additional space on the inside will be more difficult to heat.
Now that we’re schooled in snowboard gloves 101, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of specific types of snowboard gloves. We’re not talking about brands, but rather styles. Keep in mind that most snowboarders own at lest a couple pair of gloves for different temperatures, conditions and types of snowboarding.