One thing that can absolutely ruin a day on the tracks is cold fingers. Now, with the skiing and snowboard season almost over, I can tell you about a pair of heated gloves that I have been testing and that have kept my hands warm at temperatures as low as -9 degrees Fahrenheit (-23 degrees Celsius), even with lots and lots of snow.
The Supernova gloves I tried come from a company called Chaval, who designs and integrates his heating technology into gloves on Bainbridge Island just outside of Seattle (leather gloves are made in Vietnam). The Supernovas have an integrated battery and a single button near the wrist that activates the heating.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THEM?
The best part of these gloves is self-regulation. You light them and forget them; it is not necessary to manually adjust the temperature to low, medium and high settings, like other heated gloves. Chaval handles heat through a process of "microregulation" by which the heating elements detect and then react to places that need heat, such as fingertips, for example, after inserting a cold hand in the glove.
ARE THEY GOOD?
Yes, the Supernovas are great. The design of the glove kept the snow outside and I had a comfortable use all day (up to six hours) without the batteries running out. (I always ran out of energy before the gloves did.) They never exhibited excessive heat when bending the fingers as I have experienced with other hot gloves. The best heat distribution is at least partially due to the incorporation of a more efficient polymer heating film that avoids the awkward wire mesh woven into less sophisticated heated gloves.
Chaval says that his gloves have been tested to work in extreme conditions such as -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-28.9 degrees Celsius). In my test, I left the gloves on full-time when riding at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) or colder. At temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-12.2 to -6.7 degrees Celsius), I discovered that I could wait an hour or so before I had to turn them on to compensate for the cooling that resulted from the moisture of my accumulated sweat. I did not need heating at all closer to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) since the insulation was enough to keep my hands warm even when moisture accumulated. Fortunately, the gloves dry while they are loading, which means they were always ready at the start of a new day.
Yes, they are bulky, but the fingers provide enough dexterity to grab zippers, adjust the helmet straps and fasten the ties. And thanks to the index fingers and thumbs compatible with the touch screen, I could also click my iPhone with enough precision to launch Find Friends to see where our group was and launch the excellent Slopes application to track my daily careers. But you can forget about touching a text message on small smartphone keyboards.
The only drawback here is the internal load connector. Chaval calls the process of loading "simple caveman", and it is, although the internal connector is as elegant as a Neanderthal. The clumsy two-piece set is totally out of place in a garment. And the clip that holds it together shot out of the sleeve inside my snowboard jacket. However, it is quite easy to disconnect and connect to the external charger. Just do not forget to reconnect it, or your gloves will not turn on.
The clumsy internal load connector.
Look what that stupid connector did to my jacket.
AM I HAPPY MORE OR MORE?
You bet I'm happy Frozen hands can spoil a day on the mountain. My friends had to buy those small packages of heaters to insert them in their gloves last week when the cold front of Siberia crossed Europe, and I smiled with superiority every time they took off their gloves with a sub-zero climate just to touch their phones.
SHOULD YOU OBTAIN A PAR?
The price of $ 299 for Chaval Supernovas is not cheap, especially compared to a good pair of unheated ski / snowboard gloves (Burton sells Gore-Tex leather gloves for around $ 100) that can be augmented with disposable heating pads hands for as little as 50 cents per pair. But if you are looking for comfort throughout the day and an excellent heat distribution in gloves that work with your touch screen, then, of course, buy Supernovas. My hands have never been more comfortable in 20 years on the slopes.
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