The Hestra Heli Ski gloves are part of the Alpine Pro range and for the slimmer female specific models you can choose between a mitten, a five-finger, and a three-finger style. Deciding between these is really just personal preference. Mittens are warmer, but offer less dexterity, while fingered gloves a better level of manipulation but don't retain heat quite as well. I have always had five finger gloves and therefore decided to stick with this version.
There are also eight colour combinations; I chose the black and off-white, which can go with almost any clothing going forwards.
The Heli ski gloves are made up of an easily removable liner and an outer fabric, which it is connected to using a Velcro fastener. Additionally, they come with Hestra's Handcuffs (in the ladies size), a Hestra carabiner and a single-treatment pouch of Hestra Leather Balm.
The gloves are shaped in an Eagle Grip meaning they are pre-curved, comfortable and don't feel stiff. They also have a snow-lock cuff with a big plastic toggle and a Velcro fastener that is also easily adjustable thanks to its plastic end.
The finishing touches on the gloves are the carabiner hooks which are especially useful when storing the gloves for a longer period of time as well as a small name and telephone number tag in case you loose them. Both gloves have a Hestra logo on the back of the hand.
The gloves are lined with Bemberg/polyester lining with Polyester/Fiberfill insulation. Both of these fabrics are extremely soft and feel very comfortable and warm on the skin. The liner fabrics are seamed externally which means that, while they are not the most attractive liners to wear on their own, they will also not rub on your fingers. The index and pinkie finger are a part of the main fabric while the middle and ring finger are seamed around the palm which helps to shape the hand. The thumb is also attached separately.
The Outer Material
The shell of the glove is made up of two fabrics again. The upper section covering the back of the hand is made from HESTRA Triton three-layer polyamide fabric which is windproof, waterproof, and breathable. The palm is the soft, waterproofed Army Leather-goat leather. It is also extremely durable and made for snow and ice. The only thing Hestra recommend is that you are careful when carrying skis as the sharp edges could cut the leather.
The snow lock toggle and the Velcro strap both feature oversized plastic ends which means they are especially easy to grip and adjust when you are wearing the gloves. The snow lock extends a couple of centimetres past the liner to ensure it stays dry and within the glove when the toggle is tightened.
Finally, both the name and size tag and handcuffs are attached ahead of the liners making it easy to find them and detach them in the case of the handcuffs - should you choose to do so.
In terms of day to day use I found the gloves extremely comfortable and very warm. I never got cold fingers on the mountain even at minus 10-12 degrees. However, I have to say we didn't have much wind either. My fingers never got wet at all, and on the few occasions where I did get some snow inside them (because I dropped them in the powder while taking photos) the synthetic liners still kept me warm and comfortable.
I loved the handcuffs because I took my gloves off frequently to take photos and, while I kept dropping my lens cap, I never lost a glove. Soon I realised that I had enough control with my gloves on to use the small function buttons and wheels on my camera accurately. If you didn't like them it is very easy to just take the cuffs off.
I found adjusting the gloves to fit comfortably very easy, the only thing that I had some troubles with was fitting the cuff under the sleeves of my jacket. Either the fabric, the plastic toggle or the carabiner loop would be in the way. Therefore, I only hid the cuffs when I thought I wouldn't take the gloves back off straight away. If your sleeves are quite big and relatively long then you shouldn't really have too much of a problem here though. To be fair, after a bit of practice I got quite good at wriggling everything into its place.
Other than that, I found the gloves to be very comfortable and dextrous. I felt like I was able to still use my hands and fingers with precision and to pick up small objects, for example. The eagle grip is very comfortable as it mimics the natural shape of relaxed hands. I loved how the buttery soft leather is easy to keep clean and very tough even though it doesn't look like it would be.
Washing, Drying + General Care
Since you can remove the liner of these gloves, taking care of them is very easy. When I did get snow inside the gloves I would remove the liner and dry it out at room temperature. Hestra also recommend to hang dry the gloves. This is where the carabiner can, again, come in useful. The liner can also be washed at up to 40°C which is great and you can, if you need to, wash the outer fabric with some mild soap and water.
To further protect and take care of the leather, Hestra added a generous sample of their Hestra Leather Balm to the gloves which I kept safe as I haven't felt the need to use it yet. Adam has used his though and said it made his well used gloves look pretty much brand new.
In general, the gloves are tough, even if the leather does not come across as such. I wasn't ever overly careful in the snow but I can see how sharp ski edges might cut into the leather. Discoloration wasn't really an issue for me after a few days of skiing. Instead, the only benefits I noticed were that the gloves seemed to further mould to my hands, making them even more comfortable.
I absolutely love my Hestra gloves and am sure they are going to last me for years. They are a perfect glove to wear skiing in any conditions - on piste or in powder. If, like me, you take a lot of photos or otherwise feel like you need to take your gloves off a lot I would recommend buying an additional thin wool or silk liner to wear inside the gloves.
Other than that though, the gloves are extremely well made, durable and just right for the job. Based on this experience I'd happily go for any pair of Hestra gloves in the future. The only downside that I mentioned above - the snow-lock being difficult to stuff under my jacket - is something I can easily live with as I much prefer having dry, warm hands on the mountains.
Gear Score: 95/100
- Crafted with great attention to detail.
- Warm, comfortable, well shaped glove.
- Availability of different styles and colours.
- Looks and feels beautiful.
- Large snow-lock and toggle can make it difficult to fit inside jacket sleeves.
If you like these gloves and are interested in buying them then you can find them here.