I'm looking to buy my wife a new pair of ski mitts. She's a Southern California girl and doesn't do well in cold temperatures. We spend a lot of time in the high Sierras and she's been miserable even in the pretty mild Northern California climate. This holiday season, I'm surprising her with a trip Banff and the Canadian Rockies to celebrate a snowy white Christmas. I want to get her properly geared up so that it's enjoyable for her. The last item that I'm stuck on is mittens.
Here's what I'm looking at...
I was initially considering the Outdoor Research Alti mitts, supposedly the warmest on earth. I contacted them and spoke with a rep who told me that it's surely overkill and may in fact, be uncomfortable to wear in the temperature range which we'll most likely find outselves (anywhere from +10 to -15 on the extreme) due to the fact that they are so big and bulky and that any movement or grip would be restricted due to their size. The rep that I spoke with instead recommended the High Camp mittens. My wife isn't crazy about the color, which only comes in black... but that's a secondary concern!
Next up is Black Diamond. I considered the Absolute mitten initially, but for the same reasons as above, I'm now looking at the Mercury Mitt. They seem to be among the warmest available and my wife finds them aesthetically appealing, which is a big plus...
Lastly, Hestra! We're considering both the XCR and Heli, though leaning towards the Heli mitten. These are my wife's favorite based entirely on look and design. I'm not sure if they would be as warm as the Black Diamond Mercury mitt, or if they would achieve the intended task of keeping my little lady comfortable on the slopes... or even just playing around in the snow!
Here's what we're considering... we've come to realize that she doesn't need the most extreme heavy-duty mountaineering mitts designed for climbing Everest, although her range for withstanding cold is certainly less than most. A comfortable mitten has as much to do with the circumstances and context of it's intended use as it does warmth. That said, I would like to get her a warm and well-made mitten. Price range is anywhere from one-hundred to two-hundred dollars, give or take.
If the decision was solely based on aesthetic over performance, my wife would chose the understated Hestra Heli mittens. Less is more as far as she's concerned. I would tend to agree... however I want to make sure they're a warm enough mitt for her before pulling the trigger. She likes the Black Diamond Mercury as well, which seems to be the warmer mitt of the two choices. My question is: would the Heli mitts be sufficient for a Rocky Mountain winter wonderland in Banff & Lake Louise mid-December, in say -10 degrees; skiing, x-country, sledding, hiking, etc. - for someone who's temperature runs colder than most? I have a feeling the answer is probably "yes" but would like to get some feedback to be certain!
Given the two choices (Hestra and Black Diamond) strictly in terms of value - which would you opt for and why?
Do you have any other recommendations?
Any and all thoughts, suggestions and feedback would be greatly appreciated and hugely helpful; thanks!!