These ski gloves held up against -19°C and whiteout conditions like a burlier glove, but skip the bulk so you don’t have to take them off to fiddle with gear
Windproof and waterproof
Non-bulky with decent dexterity
Reinforced synthetic leather palms
Enough room to wear a liner glove
Touch screen capability doesn’t work
No wrist leash
Fleece lining could be a little softer
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Helly Hansen Swift HT Ski Gloves: first impressions
When you’re facing up against challenging conditions on the slopes, it can be easy to pick out the burliest pair of ski gloves on the market, only to find you can’t use your hands to unzip pockets, unbuckle your ski boots or get those ski pole wrist straps on and off on the chairlift. Helly Hansen’s Swift HT Ski Gloves manage to accomplish all the weather protection you need against dangerous wind chill and wet, heavy snow while still giving you decent dexterity for maneuvering around your gear.
• List price: $70 / £65
• Unisex: Yes
• Weight: 4oz /113g (per pair, small)
• Sizes: S - XL
• Insulation: Yes
• Materials: 6oz fiber fill
• Colors: Shell: 72% Polyester, 28% Leather; Lining: 100% Polyester
• Best use: Skiing, snowboarding, touring, mountaineering
These ski gloves deliver good warmth in very nippy conditions, and are waterproof and windproof. The fleece lining isn’t the softest I’ve ever felt, but it’s super comfortable even when worn all day and is breathable if you’re working up a sweat in the backcountry. Synthetic leather palms add reinforcement and a little grip for pulling the bar down on the chair, and Velcro straps seal them snugly around your wrist so they fit under your ski jacket sleeves and keep a cold draft out.
The touch screen compatibility doesn’t work well, but so long as you want to be off your phone and in the snow, these well-priced gloves provide all the important weather protection you need to stay warm, dry and safe on the hill.
Helly Hansen Swift HT Ski Gloves: in the field
These ski gloves saw me through four days of skiing Verbier this winter, where temperatures ranged between -19°C and -4°C and we had whiteout conditions for two of the days, so I certainly feel like I put them through the ringer and can recommend them for a good pair quality ski gloves. Not once did I wish I'd brought a different pair.
Here’s how they performed:
Sizing and fit
I’d say these run ever so slightly large, only because I have fairly long fingers and usually wear a small, but I tested these in a small and they have a little more room at the end of the fingers than I’d expect. You do want about a quarter inch there, but mine leave about half an inch. It’s not enough that everybody needs to size down, and I wouldn’t, given the chance, but if you tend to run between sizes, you might consider it.
When you’ve got the right size, these fit reasonably snugly while leaving room for a liner glove or the sleeve of your base layer to fit inside the cuff, but aren’t big and bulky the way some ski gloves are.
Comfort and breathability
I wore these all day, every day, and they never rubbed or became uncomfortable. The fleece lining is soft, though if I’m being really critical I’ve definitely felt softer, but most importantly there are no irritating seams or scratchy details.
Though it was seriously cold, I was doing a lot of work on technique in deep powder, and I ended up hiking through deep snow while doing some avalanche training, so I did actually manage to break a sweat in them and was pleased to see my hands didn’t get clammy or cold. More importantly, when I did get a little sweaty, they weren’t too difficult to get on and off which can be an issue.
Warmth and weather protection
Now for the most important stuff. As I’ve mentioned, it was really cold out, and I think these gloves did a really good job of providing insulation in challenging conditions, plus they’re fully waterproof against wet snow. I won’t lie and say I never had chilly fingers or balled my hands up when I was riding the chairlift, but I’m also certain that that is because Verbier is so beautiful that I kept taking my gloves off to take photographs. If I hadn’t done that, I feel certain that my hands would have stayed pretty toasty even on the coldest day.
My overall impression was that I didn’t really notice the cold very much, or these gloves on my hands, which I think means they’re really great gloves. I wouldn’t ski in temperatures any colder than these, and they definitely provide the insulation and soundproofing of a much burlier, bulkier glove, which makes them more functional.
Dexterity and other features
Because these gloves aren’t super bulky, the finger dexterity is pretty good, though the space at the end of the fingers reduces that a little. I might wear a different pair if I was touring and really fiddling with gear, but I was able to clip the waist belt of my backpack and get my ski poles wrist straps on and off no problem, which is really important. They do claim to have touch screen compatibility, but I haven’t been able to get it to work. That means that I did have to take them off to take photos since it was a media trip, which meant I got nippy fingers, but I also think it’s fine to just leave your phone in your pocket unless it’s an emergency. I’ve also never had a pair of ski gloves with touch screen compatibility that really works well, and I’ve tested quite a few pairs.
As for other features, these are pretty streamlined gloves but there is a very small pull tag to get them on, and a clip to keep them together when you’re not using them. If I could add anything, it would be a wrist leash to minimize my risk of dropping them from the ski lift, but other than that I think they’re a good price for a really good pair of ski gloves and I’ll be wearing them on more snowy adventures.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com 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.