Any activity in the cold requires a pair of gloves or mittens to protect your fingers and hands from both the cold and the environment. When snowboarding it is very common for your hands to contact the ground and the snow and ice that can be extremely sharp and tough.
When looking for hand protection the first decision that must be made is mittens or gloves. There is a lot of debate as to which option is better but when it comes to snowboarding it really is a matter of personal choice. As a snowboarder you are not required to hold on to ski poles or anything else so the choice is a matter of preference. The one exception to this would be rope tows and other lifts. With mittens it can be harder to grab on to the rope securely.
While a large part of the debate comes down to the comfort and style, an equally important part of the choice is warmth. Generally speaking, mittens are much warmer than gloves. The reason is simple, inside a mitten; your fingers can pool their warmth while in a glove your fingers must fend for themselves.
On the flip side of the coin are gloves. With gloves it is much easier to grip things. While you may not need to hold on to skiing poles, you may wish to hold on to a beverage, adjust your helmet or bindings or any number of other activities. For this reason I prefer gloves to mittens even if my fingers will get a little cooler than in mittens.
As with all winter clothing, the principal of layering must be adhered to in order to stay warm. Your gloves should already be manufactured with this idea in mind but if not you can augment them. One nice option that is available is a liner for your gloves. This layer helps to wick away moisture and provide extra warmth and protection for you hands and fingers.
An added feature of snowboarding gloves is the extra protection from physical forces built into them. Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm and outer shell made of Kevlar because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Many gloves and mittens also come with built in wrist guards to help protect from falls and other jarring forces that may be encountered especially when learning to snowboard.
Another form of protection that is an absolute must to consider is protection from water and wind. Your hands will be in constant contact with the snow and ice that will turn into water. Water is the ultimate enemy of heat and will cause your fingers to freeze very quickly so having a waterproof glove is absolutely essential.
For maximum comfort will not want a glove that is too tight. There should be a little air space at the tips of your fingers, which acts as additional insulation. If you seek out a properly fitting glove or mitten that is waterproof and lightly armored, you are sure to stay safe and warm on the slopes. Remember that your comfort on the slopes is dependent upon the quality of the gear that you buy.