Bill White, purveyor of outdoor gear and co-owner of New England Backpacker in Worcester, Mass., warns people not to place wet gloves directly on a heat source, or even too close to one.

"That's the worst thing you can do," White says.

"Instead, put your wet gloves someplace warm and dry," he says.

Wool and fleece stay warmer when wet than other materials, he says.

With combination gloves, he says, remove the inner liner from the outer shell for faster drying.,

Leather gloves that get wet are stiff when they dry out, but regain suppleness through use.

"Waterproof gloves are good," White says, listing GORE-TEX, HyVent, Conduit, and WaterGuard as four popular waterproof lines offered by various manufacturers.

Gloves are an essential part of outdoor gear in cold weather, and can make the difference between an enjoyable outing and a miserable one. In extreme cases, a good pair of gloves or mittens can prevent frostbite, which would really ruin one's day.

Many people bring a spare pair of gloves or mittens to the slopes, and change over at lunchtime if a morning on the slopes has resulted in wet gloves. Then all are dried at leisure upon the return home.