How to Keep Your Hands Warm While Skiing

Female Skier Warming Hands on Sunny Mountainside

Getty Images/Vicheslav

Cold hands are a chronic problem among skiers and sometimes it seems frigid fingers are simply unavoidable. But, cold hands don't have to result in ski days cut short. There are plenty of ways to keep your hands warm, even on the coldest days. Here are some tips for keeping your hands warm while skiing.

Wear Mittens

Mittens aren't just for kids. In fact, they make a world of difference when you're trying to keep your fingers toasty. Switching from gloves to mittens is the number one way to have warmer hands on the mountain.

Try Liners

Are you a gloves-only type of girl or guy? If you really don't like mittens, consider purchasing a pair of thermo-reflective glove liners to seal in the heat. They may not be the magic solution to cold hands, but they certainly can't hurt.

Don't Be Stingy When Buying Gloves

When it comes to gloves or mittens — you get what you pay for. A good pair of gloves that will truly hold up in low or sub-zero temperature will cost at least $50. If you suffer from cold hands, your gloves aren't the accessory to skimp on. Plus they should last you through a number of ski seasons.

Know Your Brands

Some brands are well-known for their high-quality glove designs, such as Marmot, The North Face, or Dakine. There are other brands that aren't as well known, but also perform well in frigid temperatures, such as Hestra, Canada Goose, and Auclair.

Know Your Five Features

There are five features you should look for in a glove — that they are waterproof, windproof, breathable, seam sealed and insulated. To remember these while you're glove shopping, just remember, "five features for five fingers."

Buy Hand Warmers

Just make sure you don't buy them individually at ski resorts. They are a lot cheaper when bought in bulk, and you can just store an extra in your jacket pocket for when your hands get cold.

Don't Drink Alcohol While Skiing

It's commonly thought that getting a little tipsy will keep you warm. However, it's not only dangerous to ski under the influence, but alcohol can actually adversely affect your circulation, so you may find yourself flushed in the face, but with freezing fingers.

Do Warm up With a Cup of Hot Chocolate

Hot cocoa, on the other hand, might actually help. After all, there's a reason why ski instructors are known to bring children into the lodges for a hot chocolate break on the coldest days. Although sitting in a heated lodge certainly helps, so does clutching a warm drink.

Avoid Smoking Cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes while skiing constricts your blood vessels, and you may end up with colder extremities quicker than non-smokers.

Get the Blood Flowing

Stuck on one of those seemingly never-ending runs that separate you from the warm lodge? While you're on a flat, or a gentle slope, hold your poles in one hand, and swing your arm back and forth in a circular motion to get warm blood to your fingertips. Then, switch and repeat!

Keep Your Core Warm

Wearing insulating layers and a weatherproof jacket isn't just a way to keep your body warm but will help prevent cold fingers, too. Keeping your core nice and toasty will prevent blood from fleeing your fingertips. A vest is a great way to maintain core warmth without adding bulk.

Don't Let Your Hands Get Cold in the First Place

This might be one of the most oft-overlooked tips for warm hands, but it's extremely helpful. When you're trekking from the car to the lodge, wear gloves, and if possible, avoid taking your gloves off once you're on the mountain.

Take Plenty of Breaks

Skiing is about having fun, so if your hands are in agony, don't feel bad about warming up in the lodge for a few minutes. Even if you have to alternate a break for every one or two runs, so be it.

Block Your Hands From the Wind

Stuck on a stopped lift, or on a windy summit? Simply blocking your hands from the icy air is a good way to heat them up in desperate times. For example, if you're on a lift, sitting on your hands can work. If you're making it down a run that you're comfortable with, you can also temporarily hold your hands behind your back (keeping your fingers warm while also working on your balance!).

Consider Heated Gloves

Are you a chronic cold-hander? A pair of battery-heated gloves might be a good investment for you. Hestra, Columbia, and Black Diamond are all on the forefront of the heated glove industry.