Introduction: Inexpensive Skiing / Snowboarding Gloves

It's a widely known fact that snow sports are expensive; with all the gear and equipment, gas to get to the mountain, lift tickets, day lodge food, post-skiing beer... it all adds up very quickly.  Why pay more than you have to?

Gloves are an essential component of an enjoyable day on the slopes.  Cheap gloves will fall apart, don't have very good insulation, or will keep your hands too warm without letting them breathe.  With cold hands, you'll end up cold and miserable.  Then the whining starts.  Then your friends ditch you.  Before you know it, your friends have made their way home, with you left on the mountain to fend for yourself and hitchhike home.  You don't want that, do you?  Of course not!  There are bears and ski bums out there, looking for food or the occasional case of PBR.

Step 1:

You will need two things (and an oven) that you can pick up at any decent hardware store.  If you live farther away from anywhere with inclement weather these may be a little harder to find (I can't imagine a hardware store in Hawaii carrying Sno-Seal) but a quick search online should get you what you're looking for. 

I use Sno-Seal beeswax waterproofing - it absorbs nicely into most leather products - because it's cheap and effective and leaves the leather breathable (something animal grease waterproofers don't do). 

As for the gloves themselves, Kinco makes very affordable lined work gloves. I prefer the pigskin gloves but they have a whole line available.

After you've gathered the necessary components, set your oven to "warm" (or 150 degrees) and be sure to open ALL AVAILABLE WINDOWS.  I can't stress this enough; Sno-Seal in your oven is going to make your kitchen smell like chemicals and you want it to air out as much as possible. 

Step 2:

If you want to embellish the gloves in any way with a marker, once waterproofed, the ink will stay put (you might have noticed that I wrote my name on the cuffs; most of us on the mountain have these same gloves and we don't want to get them mixed up). 

Place the gloves in the oven, palm side up. The gloves should be in the oven for no longer than 3-5 minutes; the heat is to open up the "pores" of the leather so it absorbs the waterproofing (and it's much easier to apply when melted). 

When you take the them out, if they're too hot for you to comfortably slip your hands into, (obviously) let them cool off.  At normal room temperature they should cool down pretty quickly; you want them to still be really warm when they're on. Be sure to leave the oven on, as you're going to need it again.

Open the jar of Sno-Seal.  Put both gloves on.

Step 3:

With both gloves on and the jar of Sno Seal already opened, dip both hands directly into the jar and apply the Sno Seal liberally to each glove; it should melt into the gloves fairly easily.  Start with the seams along the length of your fingers; as you're going to want the waterproofing in every crevice of the glove, once they start to cool down it'll be harder to get it into the harder to reach spots. 

Apply the Sno Seal liberally to each of the gloves, making sure you cover any exposed leather areas.

Step 4:

Carefully remove both of the gloves; the waterproofing shouldn't irritate your skin but it's possible to remove the gloves without actually touching the outside of them, and then put them back into the oven.  This time it should only be for 2-3 minutes, so any excess Sno Seal gets absorbed by the rewarmed leather.

You can repeat step 3 until the gloves won't absorb any more of the waterproofing; I generally put 3 coats of Sno Seal to a pair of gloves before using them.  After each application of the Sno Seal, you're going to want to stick it back into the oven. 

You'll notice that with each coat, the gloves get slightly darker (see the before and after picture - the gloves on the left have been waterproofed).  By the end of the process, there should be roughly a third of the jar (if you have the 8oz size) gone. 

Step 5:

After the last application of Sno Seal, let the gloves sit outside for a few hours.  The gloves should be pretty stiff; after a few days of use on the mountain, they'll soften up considerably.