SkiTech review: North Face Vortex II and North Face S.T.H. Gloves
The North Face Vortex II glove and The North Face S.T.H. glove are excellent ski gloves, but both serve very different requirements.
I've noted before that when it comes to my hands, I'm a wuss. Last year I found the first pair of gloves that actually kept my hands warm:.
While I still consider that glove the gold standard (among Mountain Hardwear and other brands I've evaluated), I really liked the North Face Vortex II and North Face S.T.H. gloves that I evaluated this year, as well, though for entirely different reasons.
Skiing last month in Las Lenas, Argentina, the weather was perfectly suited to The North Face S.T.H. glove for the first day: relatively warm, spring-skiing conditions. The North Face S.T.H. glove is the glove you'll want to have when shoveling snow, but also the one for spring skiing or simply when loading up the car at the end of the day.
The North Face S.T.H. glove is water-resistant with a highly breathable Apex ClimateBlock stretch shell. This means it will keep you warm and dry in milder conditions, but not for much of the rest of the season.
The S.T.H. is also a super-supple, contoured glove, which means you can actually do things like dial a number on your mobile while wearing it.
The North Face Vortex II glove, on the other hand, will keep you warm on much harsher conditions, like my second day at Las Lenas where the resort received roughly nine feet of new powder (plus a fair amount of wind to keep things cool). I found that the HyVent two-layer shell kept my hands dry despite swimming through a heck of a lot of powder, and I never felt cold.
Given how wimpy my hands are in the cold, this says a lot.
I also loved the soft touch (integrated finger wipe for goggles) in the fingers that allowed my fingers to serve as a windshield wiper for my goggles on that heavily-powdered second day. The only thing that I didn't like about the glove is that the shell detaches from the inside liner: I found it hard to pull my hands out without bringing the liner with them.
As such, I'd choose The North Face Patrol glove over The North Face Vortex II, but with the Vortex II less than half the price of the Patrol glove ($65 instead of $150)...well, you might be able to get used to that liner. Indeed, some might prefer it as some things like answering a mobile on the chairlift will be much easier with the liner instead of the entire Vortex II glove on.
I think I'll get a pair of The North Face S.T.H. gloves for mild conditions, but will be using my preferred North Face Patrol gloves in colder conditions. Even so, I repeat that I was surprised to find another glove that can keep my hands warm: The North Face Vortex II is a great glove at a reasonable price. For those who ski a few times a year, it might be the perfect fit.
This ski apparel review is provided as a courtesy to The Open Road readers who ski and aren't blessed to live in Utah, like I am. For those not interested in skiing, there's more of our regularly scheduled programming on the way.