The Black Diamond Guide is a glove made for cold days. While a bit stiff and cumbersome for skiers who want a lightweight or flexible design, these gloves are a good option for those who primarily care about protection. It’s a strong item that will keep you warm and fend off the cold no matter where you ski.
- Where to Buy: Amazon, REI, EVO
- Best For: Skiers who need hand protection or insulation in frigid environments and freezing temperatures.
- Pros: This is one of the warmest gloves around. It’s incredibly tough, waterproof, and dries out quickly thanks to the removable liners. The tough exterior lasts and the interior is quite comfortable.
- Cons: As strong as this glove is, it’s also much stiffer than similar models. It takes a while to properly break in and it lacks the dexterity seen in lighter models.
- Alternatives: Arc’teryx Fission SV, Outdoor Research Alti, Burton Gore-Tex Glove
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I have spent a lot of time researching and testing the different traits that make the Black Diamond Guide Glove special.
The Guide is built for warmth and protection. It has incredible insulation that will easily stand up to all conditions, and the strong construction means they will last through even the toughest winters. It also dries out quickly if things get a little too wet. Those traits make them perfect for skiers who like to tackle remote areas or frigid regions, even if they are a bit too stiff for some.
Warmth and Feel
The number one thing to like about the Guide is its warmth. This is one of the coziest models around, and that’s saying a lot. Every feature built into the large design aims to keep your hands safe from the cold and wet outside. Backcountry skiers and those who ride in particularly freezing areas will appreciate the interior insulation.
Black Diamond uses a Primaloft One Insulation on the outside and then backs it up with boiled wool. That combination creates a great, comfortable feel that never runs out. There’s also a moisture wicking element here, which is another way these gloves help make your hands warmer. Extra temperature regulation is always a plus in my book.
The glove feels much more like a mitten than a glove, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if warmth is your primary concern. The fleece in the removable liner dries quickly, and that’s extremely valuable if you like to go out when it’s really dumping down.
If there’s one area where the Guide comes up short, it’s in the glove’s flexibility. There’s no doubt that the glove is tough, sturdy, and warm. But it is quite stiff right out of the box and will take a while to properly break in. It does get more flexible the more you use it, but it’s never going to hit true flexibility.
The leather could be more forgiving as well. It’s absolutely durable but also quite rigid. That goes double when you first get them. I would spend some time breaking them in before taking them out on a long ride.
One Tough Glove
What the Guide lacks in terms of flexibility, it definitely makes up for in both strength and construction. This comes with a special Gore-Tex insert, water-resistant leather, and robust nylon shell. That combination creates a waterproof and weatherproof model that’s able to take a beating on the slopes and not wear down.
The goatskin leather palm is something I particularly appreciate, and the EVA foam padding does a lot in terms of both durability and comfort. Though it does suffer from a bit of wear on the insulation over time, the nylon shell backed up with the different materials means you’ll get a ton of use out of these before they start to wear down.
Something else I like about the Guide is that it goes beyond just providing you warmth. Black Diamond outfitted it with many traits that, while not completely necessary, are incredibly useful. That includes the strong straps that hold the removable liner in place, as well as the nose wipe on the thumb.
Both of those give the strong model even more functionality. The straps work hard to keep everything in place and you can quickly set them with a gloved hand. On the other hand, the nose wipe works exactly as advertised. You can use it without any discomfort and it’s easy to access in all different conditions.
There’s no getting around the fact that the Guide sits at the higher end of the price spectrum. Even so, if you need or want a tough glove, it’s easily worth the money. You get a lot of protection here, as well as a solid investment you know will be able to hold up over time. In my opinion, there’s no price too high for ample protection when you’re in the middle of a winter storm or plowing through the backcountry.
What I Like
These gloves truly deliver on their promise and protect you from just about any element or environment you’re bound to encounter on the slopes. The waterproof and weatherproof shell will hold up time and time again, no matter how cold it gets, and the insulation feels great while keeping your hands warm.
I’m also a fan of the feel here. The gloves are comfortable, if a bit bulky, and quite soft on the inside. The removable liners are also fantastic in terms of warmth. Being able to ride for hours and then quickly dry your gloves out when you’re done is something a larger model like this needs to work.
What I Dislike
In a word, stiffness. Though you’re never going to see that much dexterity in larger gloves, there’s no doubt that these are tricky to move around right out of the box. Even down the line, they’re always going to be closer to mittens than gloves.
The gloves also aren’t cheap. Most people who want a premium item won’t mind paying extra for a good product, but the price tag is something to bring up for skiers on a budget or those who would rather put their money into other parts of their setup.
As great as the Guides are when it comes to warmth and protection, there are several options that give you those features in different packages or at different price points. Check out these for something similar-but-different:
- Arc’teryx Fission SV – If you want a glove with the Guide’s protection, this will give you a ton of warmth. They run at a bit higher price point, but many will love their simple design and dextrous feel. They are also quite lightweight and will allow you to keep comfortable without weighing you down.
- Outdoor Research Alti – This glove is one of the warmest money can buy. It doesn’t quite give you the rugged construction you’ll find in the Guide, but it’s still a great snow option for when the weather really drops. It’s incredibly water-resistant as well.
- Burton Gore-Tex Glove – This is a solid option for skiers who want a warm glove at an affordable price. This won’t give you the same insulation or durability as the Guide, but it still offers warmth, comfort, and flexibility. It utilizes a great two-layer fabric shell and a special fabric so you can use touchscreens without taking them off.
What’s the small loop in the glove’s middle finger for?
It’s to hold a nose wipe and gives you an extra aid in taking the gloves off when the time comes.
Are the Black Diamond Guide Gloves waterproof?
Yes. These are 100 percent waterproof and should stand up to ice, snow, and any other type of moisture.
What is the temperature range?
These gloves work anywhere between 10 degrees Fahrenheit and -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do the gloves become less stiff over time?
Yes. The Guide’s material will become more pliable and flexible as you use them. Breaking in is recommended.
While it’s not the most flexible or dextrous option money can buy, there’s no doubt that the Black Diamond Glove will keep you safe and protected in just about any environment. Few gloves provide you with a truly weatherproof design, but that’s what you get here.
You’ll never doubt the Guide’s durability, and the interior is incredibly comfortable. The soft feel works well, especially with the quick-drying removable liners. If you want something that’s easy to move or mold, you’ll likely want something else. However, if you need a tough shell and good durability, this is the way to go.
Joseph Scalise is an avid writer, editor, and snow sports enthusiast who loves to spend his time outdoors. He began his love of writing early on in life and continued to pursue it as he grew older. While his time behind the computer doesn’t get him into the wild unknown as much as he would like, he never misses a chance to head up (or down) a mountain, across a river, or through a lush forest. When he’s not planning new trips, you can always find him typing away on his next project.