I’ve always carried a pair of leather utility work gloves whenever I go skiing, the kind I can pick up at the ranch supply store for $40. They are mostly durable, hardly warm, but amostly utilitarian. Grabbing skis with sharp edges, shoveling snow, grabbing onto tree branches on uptracks- not always the kind of abuse I prefer to put my nicer ‘traditional’ ski gloves through. They usually last about a good winter and then if they still have any life left in them I put them to use through a summer of chores on the ranch; I don’t mind that they are ‘one season and done’  because they are relatively inexpensive, and I like taking care of my hands, and also preserving my nicer, warmer,  more expensive ski gloves.  My outlook on utility gloves definitely took a turn when the Uphill Skier Gloves showed up, made by The Vermont Glove Company. These things are built tougher and stronger than any glove I’ve ever seen at the supply store, and they come with a nice soft and warm removable liner made of merino wool. While my aforementioned work glove have never been warm, these things will keep your fingers toasty while wrapped in a bombproof goat leather and waxed canvas shell. I can skin up the slope with the leather shell, and then slip the liners on at the top for the warmth on the down. The name “Uphill Skier’ makes perfect sense. A family owned and operated company, Vermont Glove has been been protecting hands for over 100 years. The company’s supply chains and manufacturing are all in the USA, and the products are stitched at their sustainable energy facility in rural Vermont. The history of their product line shows the rugged transition and know how to move from work gloves to a ski glove constructed to outlast any abuse.

The gloves arrive somewhat rigid and stiff, no doubt due to the  double stitched reinforced seams, double walled palm, and additional palm welt, but a nice dose of lanolin oil for water protection loosens them up. Of course with any quality leather glove, the more you wear it and put it to use, the more they’ll mold to your hand. In addition to the overbuilt palm and fingers, the Uphill Skier has a 4” waxed canvas cuff that can be tightened to keep any elements out. If you’re not used to wearing a naked leather glove against your skin, the more you wear them, the more supple and soft they get on the interior as well. When you slip on the merino liners with the gloves, it’s hard to tell the difference between these hard workers and your fancy $250 euro powder gloves. The Uphill Skier gloves are built for skiing, and for taking on the elements. I’ll be keeping these beauties in my ski bag over the summer and using my throwaways for summer work. A nice dose of Neatsfoot oil each year should keep these things in top condition for years to come. $140 vermontglove.com

 

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Paul Oelerich

What's on your backcountry radar this winter?

Collecting more great stories of adventure from around the globe, and making plans to pursue some of my own in the future.

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