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Differences Between Ski And Snowboard Gloves

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Differences Between Ski And Snowboard Gloves

Think all gloves are the same? Think again. Buying the right glove for the right winter sport is an essential part of having a great day on the slopes.

Extremities receive the least amount of blood flow, so it’s no wonder your fingers and toes are the first things to become numb when it’s time to play in the snow. However, keeping your fingers warm is only half the battle. It’s also important to consider glove flexibility and overall protection. If you can’t move your fingers to grip your snowboard or hang onto the chairlift, it doesn’t matter how warm your fingers are.

Why Not Wear Mittens During Winter Sport Activities?

The best way to keep your fingers warm is to slip them inside of a pair of mittens. Since mittens allow your fingers to stay together, warmth is passed from one finger to the other resulting in a warm hand. However, mittens can make it tough to perform tricks or execute a move with precision. A mitten-glove combo is another option, but it can be tough to flip the casing of a hybrid mitten mid-leap or as you're exiting the chairlift.

Those who spend their winter days on the slopes often opt for gloves in lieu of mittens or their hybrid counterparts. Gloves are more versatile, lightweight and are the best option for serious skiers and snowboarders. If you decide to go the glove route, make sure to choose the right type. Otherwise, you could wind up with gloves that make your favorite snow activity a lot tougher. Essentially, there are two types of gloves that you'll find in any sports shop: ski gloves and snowboard gloves.

1. Snowboard Gloves

The main difference between ski gloves and snowboard gloves is that snowboard gloves tend to be bulkier and sometimes longer due to additional padding. Since grabbing the edge of a sharp snowboard tends to be a large part of carving up any mountain, you’ll want to make sure that the gloves you purchase for snowboarding are warm and nicely padded.

Here is a description of three popular types of snowboard gloves:

  • Freestyle Gloves: These gloves come with extra palm padding and a decent amount of wrist support so that boarders can grab a board midair without snapping a wrist or damaging palms. Some freestyle gloves have extra insulation, though most are not made for extremely cold temperatures.
  • Pipe or Spring Gloves: The main purpose of a pipe glove is to keep your fingers separated so that you have a lot of flexibility options when riding a pipe. Pipe gloves are not meant for keeping your fingers warm, so these aren’t the best choice for very cold days.
  • Standard Five-Finger Gloves: Standard gloves are warmer than pipe or freestyle gloves. In addition, these gloves also have more bulk. If you’re looking for an everyday winter glove, the standard glove is what you should be seeking.

2. Ski Gloves

Ski gloves serve a different purpose than snowboard gloves. Skiers don’t need to worry about hard hand contact with the side of a sharp snowboard. Instead of looking for lots of extra padding, you want to get ski gloves that are flexible and warm.

Popular types of ski gloves include:

  • Standard Five-Finger Gloves: Standard ski gloves have an extra lining, some flexibility and a “gator,” which is a small part of the glove that slips underneath your jacket. These gloves are the least expensive type of ski glove on the market, but they are not recommended for skiing mountainous terrain in extreme conditions.
  • Pipe Gloves: Similar to snowboard pipe gloves though not as massive, skiing pipe gloves are thin, elastic and ideal for warmer weather. No insulation or gator is included.

Price And Material Considerations

The price of ski or snowboard gloves will depend on the type of material that the gloves are made from. Typically, gloves that are made with a technical material, like Kevlar or Gore-Tex, will be more expensive than gloves that are made from cotton or fleece. Finding gloves that are made from a few combined materials (Gore-Tex combined with a cotton insulation, for example) will give you the best of both worlds.

If you decide to purchase a glove made from 100 percent natural material, like cotton or wool, keep in mind that these gloves are not usually waterproof. To combat waterproofing problems, you can purchase an outer shell to slip over your gloves, though buying waterproof gloves from the start will save you money in the long run.

Since gloves come in different sizes, it’s always best to try them on before you buy. You may even want to consider two different sets of gloves if you are skilled at both snowboarding and skiing.

If you plan to hit the slopes, the pipe or the wilderness this winter, make sure that you have the right gloves and the rest of your winter sports apparel essentials before you head out.

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