Hands-on Gear Review

Mountain Hardwear Skistar - Women's Review

By: Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 6, 2015
Price:  $100 List
Pros:  Most well-featured cuff-length glove, good water resistance, carabiner loop
Cons:  Bulky and short finger construction, takes a while to break-in, questionable durability
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 30% 6
  • Water resistance - 25% 7
  • Dexterity - 25% 7
  • Features - 10% 5
  • Breathability - 5% 6
  • Durability - 5% 5
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Our Verdict

Skistar Discontinued - November 2016
We have confirmed that the Skistar glove is discontinued. Mountain Hardware did not introduce a product to replace it. See our updated glove review for female riders here.

If you're looking for a glove that can function in the resort, as a work glove, and even as an ice climbing glove then check out the Mountain Hardwear Skistar. In combination with Thermal.Q.Elite insulation and a hydrospan - goatskin leather shell, it is waterproof and warm, keeping you protected on wet days on the chair lifts. Our biggest complaint about the Skistar was its bulky design and short fingers. We noticed this glove took a long time to break in and at first had limited dexterity, however, with use it got a little better. We also wished that the seams on the fingers did not meet on the tips of the glove, as this is a dexterity limiter. If you're looking for a cuff length single glove with fantastic dexterity and warmth, check out the Pow Gem instead.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Take the Mountain Hardwear Skistar out in weather 20F and above and stay warm throughout the day. This glove does great in wet weather while ice climbing and chairlift riding; they are also winter work ready.

Performance Comparison


Testing the differences between the Mountain Hardwear Skistar and the Pow Gem on a trail skating day just outside of Montreal  QC.
Testing the differences between the Mountain Hardwear Skistar and the Pow Gem on a trail skating day just outside of Montreal, QC.

Warmth


The Mountain Hardwear Skistar was the warmest cuff-length glove we tested; it also scored higher than a couple of the gauntlet-style models in the review. It boasts Thermal.Q.Elite insulation on both the back of the hand (200g/m3) and on the inside of the palm (100g/m3). Having less insulation on the palm had our testers sweating less which equals more warmth. The insulation does a great job at wicking away moisture and is an all-around warm option. Our main caveat was there was limited dexterity in the glove (due to its bulkiness) which didn't allow our finger to move as freely. Since we couldn't move our fingers as much to generate heat, this glove left our hands colder on the really chilly days. When skating on frozen trails in and around Montreal we found that this pair was much warmer than other full length models like the Marmot Randonnee Glove - Women's and the Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's but not as warm as the Outdoor Research Southback - Women's. If you are looking for a cuff length gauntlet mitt, check out the POC WO Mitten.
The Thermal.Q.Elite insulation is warm! It's thicker on the outside of the hand  and thinner in the palm to accommodate better dexterity.
The Thermal.Q.Elite insulation is warm! It's thicker on the outside of the hand, and thinner in the palm to accommodate better dexterity.

Water Resistance


The combination of a hydrospan shell, goatskin leather (on the palms and fingers) with an OutDry membrane kept these gloves relatively dry on the slopes. When performing our dunk test where we submerged all gloves underwater for one minute to see how much water they absorbed, we were surprised to see that the Skistars kept the water out better than all other models except for the Hestra Heli Mitt - Women's, POC WO, and the ultra waterproof Arc'teryx Beta AR. If you're looking for something ultra waterproof, take a look at those.

On the slopes it did a good job too. We noticed that after a day in wet snow, like most gloves and mittens, it became soggy after a few hours. However, it still maintained its waterproofing. It's also important to mention that because it uses goatskin leather on the palm, it must be treated regularly (one to two times per season based on use) for continued performance.

Dexterity


We were not too content with the dexterity of this glove. Firstly, it took a while to really break them in. Secondly, the fingers were straight up short and fat with an excess of material around each finger. This made it very difficult to perform any fine tasks that you would expect a cuff length ski glove to perform. Tying laces, zipping up zippers, and even getting our keys out of our pockets became very difficult tasks. As a result, if you are looking for a much more dexterous cuff length glove, go for the Pow Gem instead.
We found that because the seams were at the tips of the fingers  they were a little bulkier  which limited dexterity. Despite these minor flaws  the dexterity was decent and they performed better than other thicker gauntlet style options.
We found that because the seams were at the tips of the fingers, they were a little bulkier, which limited dexterity. Despite these minor flaws, the dexterity was decent and they performed better than other thicker gauntlet style options.

Features


Like most cuff-length gloves, the features on this model weren't as plentiful as other gauntlet gloves. However, of all the cuff length gloves tested, the Mountain Hardwear Skistar did have the best features. This includes a carabiner hook on the finger to clip your gloves to your harness. This feature allows you to clip the gloves to a gear loop without having to flip them upside down and risk them gathering snow or water - an awesome addition if you plan on doing a bunch of ice climbing.

The best feature of this glove is the pull loop on each cuff. Mountain Hardwear also incorporated a neoprene stretch Velcro enclosure around the wrist. A lot of testers thought the enclosure was great except that it was a little too big and bulky. Some testers commented that snow would even get into the glove as a result. If you're looking for a glove with more coverage, check out the Outdoor Research Southback instead.
The neoprene Velcro cuff  in combination with the pull tabs seen here  are by far the best features that we've seen on any of the cuff length gloves and mitts tested. Let's not forget the nose wipe as well!
The neoprene Velcro cuff, in combination with the pull tabs seen here, are by far the best features that we've seen on any of the cuff length gloves and mitts tested. Let's not forget the nose wipe as well!

Breathability


The breathability of this glove was pretty decent. The Thermal.Q.Elite insulation did a good job wicking away sweat from our hands and transferring it towards the leather of the glove instead. Because of the burly outer, it still didn't breathe as well as the Arc'teryx Beta AR or the Outdoor Research Arete - Women's, but it still did the trick for less aerobic activities like resort skiing and shoveling snow.

Durability


The construction of the Skistar looks pretty good at first: the burly leather construction with the goatskin leather palms had us thinking that it would last a few years. However, after carrying around skis and snowboards a few days at the mountains, we noticed some scratches and cracking on the surface of the glove. Not only that, but the insulation packed out after just a few days. This didn't limit the warmth like we noticed with the POC WO Mitten, but it definitely made us question the integrity of the glove and how long it would really last. Not only that but the seams come together at the tips of the fingers - a point that sees lots of wear. Most durable gloves will fold a piece of leather over the tip for enhanced durability, but we didn't notice this feature here. As a result, we only gave the Skistar a 5/10 for noticeable wear and tear after just a few days of use, and what we think might be poor construction.
We were not satisfied with the durability of the leather here. Even with treatment  we noticed ample wear and tear after just a couple of uses. No seams can undone  but the leather could be of a higher quality.
We were not satisfied with the durability of the leather here. Even with treatment, we noticed ample wear and tear after just a couple of uses. No seams can undone, but the leather could be of a higher quality.

Best Applications


The Mountain Hardwear Skistar really did well in a wide array of winter chores. Because of the heavy leather and limited dexterity, we think it makes a fantastic winter work glove. Chop and stack wood all day! With its carabiner loop, easy pull on loop, and stacked insulation on the outside of the hand, these make really great ice climbing gloves and good resort skiing gloves. Avoid using these while hiking uphill unless it's really chilly outside.

Value


At a $100 we think the price is reasonable, but not the best deal out there. Because this glove is super waterproof and more dexterous than the POC WO, it serves a purpose as a great ice climbing or work glove, and is cheaper than the Black Diamond Mercury Glove. However, if you are just looking for a great gauntlet style glove at a better price, the Pow Gem ($75) is a better option - offering more dexterity, a slimmer fit, and better durability.

Conclusion


The Mountain Hardwear Skistar is a glove built for ladies with shorter and more plump fingers looking to get out on some ice or get dirty performing some winter chores. This is the most waterproof gauntlet style glove tested, but is limited in dexterity and fit. Warmth is top notch and will keep you comfortable in weather above 20F.

Amber King

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