Living in the Rockies during the winter months is a magical experience. First chair is never more than ten minutes away. Worries about powder day closures of I70 are a thing of the past. A winter ascent of Buffalo Mountain ending in a breathtaking view of the Gore Range is quite literally right out the back door. All of that may sound nice (and it is very nice), but it comes with few drawbacks. It’s usually below freezing, and sometimes so far below it, single digits feel balmy. Personally, I love the cold. My body runs hot and if I plan on exerting myself, it’s likely that I’ll end up hot no matter what the thermometer outside reads. There is one unfortunate exception, however– my hands.
For whatever reason, my hands get uncomfortably, miserably, annoyingly cold. The type of cold that can ruin even the best outdoor adventure. It’s something that has always mystified me. I value a good pair of gloves greater than any other piece of apparel on a winter adventure. Believe me when I say, I’ve tried a lot of overpriced gloves that often end up underperforming. However, I recently gave the MTN Utility Glove from Mountain Standard a try and I was impressed.
Mount Standard, based in Boulder, Colo., is relatively new to the outdoor apparel scene. They may be new to making apparel themselves, but their product design expertise has been relied upon and trusted by many major outdoor brands for over twenty years. Mountain Standard, instead of offering many products, focuses their time and energy on a few outstanding products.
Their dedication to quality and detail is evident from the moment you first slip your hand into a pair of their MTN Utility Gloves. Crafted from 80gram Primaloft Gold and a waterproof MTN Dry liner, these gloves definitely score high marks in the warmth and comfort categories. I’ve used them for over thirty days split between various Colorado resorts, winter hikes through the beautiful Gore Range mountains, and many cold mornings just walking our pup around the neighborhood.
Pros: Pre-articulated premium goat leather forms to your hand with wear. These gloves are comfortable when you first get them but all good gear goes unnoticed. The more you wear them, the more they start to become part of your hands. The MTN Utility Glove offers plenty of back-of-hand padding for added insulation and for fending off branches when you’re bombing through your favorite tree run. Mountain Standard utilized kevlar stitching for durability and outward seaming that is great for reducing bulk. They look great whether you’re in the backcountry, or hanging out in the city.
Cons: If the powder is deep, and you take a tumble as I do more often than I would like to admit, there is a solid chance you’ll get snow in your gloves. They don’t come with leashes or a way to fasten them together. When I’m riding the lift, I always worry about the poor soul whose gloves lay on the snow below. I suspect Mountain Standard thought of this when they added the pull tab loops on the wrists of the gloves. As warm as these gloves are, they are not quite as warm as a similarly priced pair of mittens.
Where we took it: Several Colorado ski resorts and hiking in Eagles Nest Wilderness including an attempted winter ascent of Buffalo Mountain.