The newest glove technology for $92, or a $12 pair of Kinco work gloves and an $80 keg of PBR for you and your buddies on opening day at the ski hill? The choice is obvious; this type of financial wonder is a rarity in the life of the modern skier, so it’s understandable how so many of us were lured into a lifetime of Kincos by the gateway drug of cheapness. If you’re lucky enough to live near one of one of the many fine establishments that sell Kincos work gloves then you can head on down the first brisk day of fall and swoop up your new ski gloves, a jar of Sno-Seal, a fresh set of wrenches, a plunger, and a Polish hotdog. Buyer’s remorse will surely never haunt you.
Some might call these gloves high maintenance—however, with a little bit of care, such as a thick, bi-weekly coat of bee’s wax, they thrive. Like a good cast iron skillet, Kincos just get better with seasoning. A few minutes by the wood stove and a slathering of Sno-Seal and the all-natural deer skin is ready for a week of 33-degree PNW pow.
The classic Kinco work glove is the reliable workhorse of the professional skier, professional ski patroller, and professional ski bum. The hue of the leather is a billboard to commitment, and a fresh pair of Kincos can be seen from across the mountain, the most beautiful glowing gold that $12 can buy. A veteran ski patroller’s Kincos often have a chocolate tint achieved only by years of ritualistic Sno-Sealing, a badge of honor much like a soldier’s medals. The coveted color can be seen on the hard working hands of patrollers from Revelstoke to Las Lenas to Chamonix—that dedication knows no borders.
Versatility, durability, comfort, and style keeps these gloves on the front display rack of hardware stores year-round—their PNW roots keeps them on the cutting edge of bad weather and on the paws of serious shredders. Since 1975, Kincos have been stitching their masterpieces out of a small factory just west of Mt. Hood, OR. After watching their gloves take up a serious role in the ski industry, they recently decided to listen to their customers and modify their classic model to create a more skier-friendly model, the 901 Ski Glove, ready to mend rope-lines or rip the rope-tow all day—perfection, it seems, can be improved upon.
However, even with their recent ski focus, the abilities of a pair of Kincos extend far beyond the ski hill and into daily life. They show up when spring climbing season comes around, on frigid summer mornings on fishing boats in Alaska, and on frosty mountain bike rides when the fall is fighting to hold back the chill of winter. For the most extreme adventurer, the Axemen mitt, a glove/mitt hybrid, is revolutionizing morning ice scraping, cold weather wood splitting and mid-winter mountaineering expeditions.
So next year, when you head on down to the bar to pick up an opening-day keg with your leftover glove budget, don’t forget to give a nod and a salute to those soft golden works of deerskin hanging from the front rack like bad-weather masterpieces.