I’ve never claimed to be a hardened mountain man – despite spending tens years as a ski instructor and now enjoy heading into the backcountry to spend time in the wilderness, I still don’t particularly get on with the cold and probably suffer more than the average person.
Anything below minus 15 and I start dreaming of wood fires and log cabins. Maybe not the thing a ski writer should admit to, but that’s the truth.
So when I got the chance to review the new Ember glove, with its internal heating system, I jumped at the chance.
The first thing that hits you is the packaging – it comes in its on case, well made and with a nice, simple instruction leaflet. Charge them up like your mobile phone after connection the battery that fits neatly into the cuff area of the gloves.
Secondly, the glove itself is a serious piece of kit even without the heating system. They are certainly warmer than the average glove, with lots of neat features such as the goggle wiper and a ski pass pocket, making it just about as easy as possible to swipe those electronic ski lift gates.
The Thinsulate insulation is backed up with an outer mixed up with a waterproof, breathable fabric and a leather strip on the palm adding extra grip. Adjustment straps on the wrist and cuff area help keep any snow or cold air away – there’s also detachable wrist lanyards that you can customise, meaning you can take the gloves off without the concern of them getting lost – particularly handy when taking photos.
….and finally, Das Hauptgericht
The heating system is obviously the centre piece of the glove – a push button on the top gives you four heat settings, the top two really are super-hot and unless you’re standing around on a very cold day doing nothing, they will probably never be required. But they are there, for those minus 30 degree days when you decide to stay out and ski ‘till the lifts shut and freeze your butt (not your hands obviously) on a chair lift.
Think central Canada in January or perhaps Norway on a cold snap.
Unfortunately it was about minus 5 degrees centigrade in the Swiss Alps when I tried them out – coldish but certainly not requiring level 4 nuclear powered glove heaters. But I got the idea, and I’m confident that in really cold weather, your hands will stay warm.
I like the gloves – they are slightly heavier than your normal glove, they are not a snug fitting leather racing glove, you have to charge them up again if you use the heating system. But for people who love skiing and suffer from cold hands, like many do, these things won’t factor into it.
They are not cheap – again, for people who suffer from the cold and love skiing – no brainer investment.
Would I wear them? When I know it’s going to be sub minus 20 degrees all day long and I’m out on the mountain – yes, absolutely. Any warmer than that then I probably wouldn’t, mainly due to my preference for a leather glove that’s as thin as I can get away with. Yes, those temperatures are rare, especially in the Alps, but for some people, minus 8 degrees feels cold and for them, if it keeps them skiing longer, then I hope the embers will continue burning and not turn to ash.
Good for: People who suffer from cold hands, reluctant skiers who don’t normally like to ski because they get cold, ski instructors who stand around on a cold mountain all day long, race coaches who do the same, skiers travelling to particularly cold climates in mid-winter.
Rating: 8 out of 10
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