Marmot was first known for their equipment that was suited towards expedition mountaineering. Large expedition tents, down sleepings bags, down suits, and a variety of other gear was created, and they even were one of the pioneers to use Gore-Tex fabric. Shift to 2018, and we enter modern day Marmot which makes gear for every occasion. Especially resort skiing, and their flagship glove, The Ultimate Ski Glove, exemplifies its name.
The Marmot Ultimate ski glove being used during a column test. While our testing brought them into the backcountry, they seem more at home in-bounds at a resort.
Oddly enough the Ultimate was not a very warm option. We felt that this was a great choice when it was over 15F, or when sized with a liner, a great cold weather option. The lack of warmth comes from a very close fitting palm that packs out a bit as the glove is worn, adding to the dexterity and "broke-in" feeling of the palm increase. When used in a backcountry setting, we found that the glove was plenty warm, slightly too warm for any uphill travel, and did a fantastic job on the descent in cold temperatures. The large cuff was able to seal on all of the testers coats to keep heat in. Overall, not a very warm pick but plenty warm enough for the average resort skiing day. A glove that is slightly warmer but less weather resistant would be the Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex. A much warmer and less dexterous glove could be found with the Outdoor Research Alti Glove.
A big factor in the lack of warmth of this glove is the increase in dexterity that comes with it. A thin layer of Primaloft gold covers both layers of the hand and allows for a close feel of the ski pole. With such a durably designed palm, we were surprised at how well this glove functioned in our in lab durability testing. We were able to select a key from a keychain easily and open a door, something the Outdoor Research Highcamp and the Black Diamond Guide could not do. Of course, this glove does not match the extremely supple leather of the Black Diamond Legend and Arcteryx Fission, although the Ultimate is also more durable as a result.
After the initial treatment of the leather, this glove was able to shed water well and never wetted out on any testers during a day of skiing. With all of the stitching located on the palm, it was a concern that water ingress would be able to exploit these areas. Surprisingly, the glove did excellent in our water testing benefiting from the Gore-Tex inset AND a wicking lining that separated itself from the other gloves in the test. We felt that in addition to a waterproof outer, if a glove was effectively able to remove moisture from your hand via wicking it away, then it was even further weather resistant.
Take a look at the palm of this glove, it is reinforced in all the key places. The back of the glove also has reinforcements in areas that might come in contact with trees or the snow. The reinforced areas also cover where the glove will be bending the most.
This is where the Ultimate ski glove shines. Ski patroller, ski bum, a resident of a resort town, will all rejoice when considering the durability of this glove. When you analyze the construction of the glove, you can see why it is built to last. From the reinforcements on the palm, the stretch panels covering the knuckles on the back of the fingers, and the oversized plastic tensioner and thick brightly colored wrist cord, this piece of kit was built for the long haul. You can't ask for much more in a glove this dexterous, as durability usually decreases a gloves dexterity due to thicker leather separating your fingers from the surface to an even greater extent. Other examples of excellent durability can be seen in the Hestra Fall Line and the Black Diamond Guide. A less durable but more dexterous glove can be found with the Arcteryx Fission.
What a masterful execution of features Marmot has been able to do with this glove. Oversized and exaggerated controls cover the glove from the thick and easily adjustable wrist strap to the massive gauntlet cinch; each feature increases ease of use just a tad more. One feature we sorely missed was a solid nose wipe on the thumb. Instead, your nostrils are greeted with another leather reinforcement! We can't really fault the glove for this, but we did hold back a point due to this detail and the lack of a finger mounted loop for stowing. Overall each feature that exists on the glove is perfectly executed and built to last.
This is a resort skiing machine through and through. For the dedicated skier, this glove will serve as an ultra-durable and dexterous glove that will be your go-to on any day above 15F and will stretch to lower temperatures when paired with a solid liner (sized appropriately). This is a fantastic option if you live on the West Coast where daytime winter temperatures are moderate.
At $175 this glove is in the top tier price range. And we feel that it is a good value for certain climates, but less of a value when you consider there are warmer and just as durable gloves on the market for the same price.
When you spend most of your time carving arcs at the resort and riding the chair to the top of the peak, you look for a durable, dexterous, and weatherproof glove. The Marmot Ultimate ski glove is that. While it does lack in the warmth category, it is a great pick for the majority of days on the local ski hill.