i'll preface this by sharing that i have recently begun suffering from raynaud's syndrome, which is a vascular condition in which cold weather causes the capillaries in the hands to constrict. in non-scientific terms, when it gets the slightest bit chilly, my hands and fingers are almost always freezing cold and even numb. it can be quite painful too.
i love to sk, and to combat this, i've tried about every type of glove/liner/hand warmer combination available. on a new year's trip to mt. snow vermont, i broke down when the temp dropped to 2º and bought a pair of gordini goose down mittensbasically sleeping bags for my hands. those combined with hand-warmers kept the feeling in my hands all day. as much as i love having finally found a solution to my problem, mittens don't allow for the most dexterity, plus it looks like i am wearing boxing gloves, as the kid at the store was kind enough to point out to me. so i was on the lookout for some gloves that would do the job in all but the most severe cold.
i read all the reviews about the black diamond guide gloves both on this site and on others. i knew i wanted a pair of goretex gloves because any moisture really compounds the problem i have with my hands. i was stoked when these arrived as i had just made plans to hit the slopes the ensuing weekend.
sadly, things did not start out well for these, as i had a lot of trouble getting the pull-cord on the gauntlets to tighten adequately. the softshell material used tends to bunch up and cause the cord to stick, not tightening as much as it should. you have to pull pretty hard. i did so and actually ripped the fabric piece that attaches the toggle to the glove. i ended up rigging it back on with a twist-tie but not what you want to see from $160 gloves. luckily this happened in my house and not outdoors. but the closure system is really poor. the toggle is way too small to operated with these gloves on which is really a stupid design decision. i had a pair of old burton gloves and their closure system (which i noticed was patented) is far superior and much easier to work, especially when wearing big gloves.
another quip i have with these gloves is that they do not come with a retaining strap. with gloves these bulky, any task that requires a modest amount of coordination requires you to remove the glove. the straps come in handy when you are constantly removing the gloves and the omission of this simple feature really seems like an oversight on black diamond's part. i scavenged the straps from my old burtons and hooked them around the tabs used to separate the liner from the shell, which does an adequate job of replicating this, but the straps are kind of awkwardly placed now.
on the slopes, these did an ok job, but the daytime temps hovered around 40º. i bit it badly once, and sure enough, somehow snow found its way into one of the gaping holes created by the bunching effect of the gauntlet's closure system. as soon as the sun started going down and the temperature dropped a little, i noticed a familiar tingling feeling in my fingertips. i threw on some liners, but it was already too late and i had to call it a day. i was pretty bummed that these did not work out as i had hoped. perhaps with hand-warmers, these would have done the job.
bottom-line is that, for the money, these are really poorly designed and i question the durability and quality. and while the orange and grey color-way looks much cooler than my enormous mittens, i'd rather be able to feel my hands at the end of the day.