How to not lose ski gloves on the chairlift

Partial view of a woman seated in a conveyor cabin using her cell phone typing a message
Keep a handle on your favorite mitts with our guide to how not to lose ski gloves (Image credit: aire images)

Chairlifts aren’t just locomotion technology designed to get you to the top of your favorite groomed ski run in as little time as possible; they’re also where all the best ski gloves go to die. How many times have you hopped on the lift and realized you want to adjust your ski jacket, move your ski pass to a different pocket or gobble a quick granola bar? You take your gloves off and put them in your lap so you can use your hands, then when you get to the top and it’s time to raise the bar, you’re down to one glove and looking at a very cold hand for the rest of the day. 

Look, you’re not alone. Each year in the spring, the line directly under each ski lift on every resort is like a treasure hunt for anyone willing to hike up and help themselves to long lost ski gloves, hats, phones and even the odd wallet. Even if you use your jacket pockets instead of putting your gloves in your lap, the combination of holding your gloves in your teeth while you unzip the pockets and stuffing them in then zipping them up with cold hands greatly increases your chances of unintentional forfeiture. It’s not just an annoying – and expensive – mistake, it could leave you at risk of skin damage and frostbite in cold weather. Make sure your hands stay toasty and your treasured mitts aren’t part of someone’s spring haul with our guide to how to not lose ski gloves.

Ski gloves lying in the snow

Make sure your hands stay toasty and your treasured mitts aren’t part of someone’s spring haul with our guide to how to not lose ski gloves (Image credit: studo58)

1. Don’t take them off 

Sounds obvious, but clearly if you’re still reading this article, you haven’t been heeding this advice, so we’ll start with the easiest solution: stop taking your damn gloves off on the lift! Are you too warm? Get a thinner pair of gloves that allow for better dexterity like the Rab Khroma Tour gloves or even the Rab Flux Liners for mild days. Oh, and lose the fleece jacket under your ski jacket! Have a runny nose? Get a pair of gloves like the Keela Extreme that have a thumb patch for nose wiping. Are you trying to send a text message? Stop texting and enjoy the view! The reason you keep losing your ski gloves is because you keep taking them off. Leave them on, problem solved, ok?

Young woman on ski lift

Stop doing this! (Image credit: Chris Tobin)

2. Use the wrist leash

Ok, so you’re not going to stop texting from the chairlift, we get it. How else are you going to hook up with your bros later? There are still some solutions. For starters, you can find a pair of ski gloves that come with an elasticated wrist leash, such as the North Face Montana Futurelight Etip. This is a lot like the wrist leash on your trekking poles, and simply wraps around each wrist so that when you take your gloves off to loosen the buckles on your ski boots, they don’t go anywhere. It’s basically the grown up version of your parents putting your gloves on a string through your coat sleeves when you were in elementary school, but hey, it works.

If your ski gloves don’t have a wrist leash and you don’t want to replace them, this is a pretty easy DIY project. Just sew an elastic loop into the inner wrist of each glove (make sure it’s big enough to fit comfortably over your ski layers). Stitch it in securely and give it a good yank when you’re done to make sure it’s going to stay, otherwise you’re back to square one.

Ski gloves on poles with a skier in the background

Your ski gloves, waving you goodbye as you ski downhill (Image credit: studo58)

3. Use carabiners

The majority of good ski gloves come with some kind of loop somewhere. If they don’t have a wrist leash, they might have a small loop at the wrist to help you pull them on, like the Montane Prism, or even a loop on the the finger, which is actually for attaching your gloves to your other gear. Attach a small carabiner (not a climbing carabiner, the tiny ones that come attached to your water bottle lid) to your ski jacket, the belt loop on your ski pants or your backpack, and clip your gloves to it any time you take them off.

A carabiner

Use a small carabiner to attach your gloves to your jacket  (Image credit: Yevgen Romanenko)

4. Stash them under your backpack strap 

This nifty little ski hack can work if, and only if, you ski with a backpack. Assuming your ski backpack is properly adjusted so that the shoulder straps are nice and snug, which they should be, you can cinch your gloves under the straps when you’re not using them and so long as you’re not thrashing around too much, they should stay put. Note, we said should...

best hiking gloves: hiker adjusting hood in winter

Losing a ski glove isn't just annoying and expensive, it can expose you to frostbite too (Image credit: Getty)

5. Clip them together 

This one isn’t necessarily all that helpful on the lift, but if you tend to lose one of your gloves after you get done skiing for the day – in the trunk of your car, in your garage, who-knows-where – it can be useful to buy a pair that come with a clip so that you can fasten them together when you’re not wearing them. This keeps them together, so if you know where one is you know where they both are, but of course if we’re talking about dropping them from the lift, it can also mean that you lose both. That said, one glove is limited in its usefulness anyway, so it's still worth doing any time they come off your hands, and of course if you only remove one glove on the lift, you can clip it to the other.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.