These gloves are hot! As in warm – and stylish. The Manzella Arch Angel accompanied me this spring to Aspen where I competed in the Colorado Freeskiing Championships. It happened to be a cold, stormy weekend, dumping two feet of snow over the course of a few days. I was worried that I couldn’t see the cliffs I was about to drop, but I wasn’t worried about my hands staying warm. The Arch Angel is the “warmest” Manzella glove of the women’s “alpine ski” line and proved to come through for me as I waited about an hour in the storm before we were given word that the judges could see us. My toes, at that point, were frozen, wet snow was beginning to creep into the crevasses of my jacket and I was wigging out that I would get lost in the whiteout conditions. But, praise for the Angel, my fingers were toasty. If you place the gloves together, they look like angle wings, hence the name Arch Angel. These things are cool. Maybe I had some divine power looking after me because I lived to land the drops and placed fifth overall.
Manzella knows hands. When I put these on, I immediately wondered how something so light in weight could be so warm. Manzella figured it out: how to make the warmest glove so light it seems invisible. Unlike most manufacturing companies, Manzella organizes it gloves into two categories: “use” (like snowsports and outdoor) and under the banner of “warm,” “warmer” and “warmest.” Doing some touring? Pick a “warm” glove. Heading into Arctic-like skiing in Jackson Hole? Choose a “warmest” glove. Manzella does it’s research. For instance, the company recognizes women have slender fingers, narrower hands and wrists and a greater drop in pinky length in comparison to men. They also found that women have greater variance in the length of their hands. The company designs its gloves to meet these needs.
The Arch Angel is made for women’s hands. The sheepskin leather on the palms make the gloves free of stiffness and the cinch at the opening keeps heat in and cold snow out. The only complaint is that the pinky length is too long, an unfortunate problem considering Manzella claims to know this is a common design flaw in women’s lines. But being that women’s hand length varies so much, what a challenge for any glove company. All that said, this is the most comfortable ski glove I have tried in recent years. It’s so light, yet so warm. The Arch Angel is new for the fall 2006 line and will be available mid July. I’m taking the Angel on a spring ski trip this weekend, to the Banana Chutes in the Tetons. We plan to be at the trailhead at 3:30 a.m. and that means it will be cold, but I have some warm-est gloves on my hands. No worries.