Two trails are about to meet — Snowy Mountains and Winter Holidays. In the confluence where they meet sit two packages — gear and gifts.
From equipment that helps you get in shape to must-haves for après, here are 8 gifts for skiers and riders to ring in the new year with.
Gifts To Use On-Mountain
What do you need when you’re skiing and snowboarding? Music, music, music. Which for most folks means earbuds. (I’m not an earbud admirer, largely because they block out the roar of that snowmobile mach-ing at you from behind.)
Two items help with that. One is Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones — head, not ear — that uses bone-conduction technology to deliver sound just forward of your ear, not embedded in your ear canal. You can still hear that looming machine.
Only question is — will they work with a ski helmet? Not with my K2 Diversion, they don’t. But if your brain bucket doesn’t have earflaps, they just might. And they’re great for cross-country skiing. Titanium’s sell for $130. And they deliver crazy-great sound.
AMPED Bluetooth Neck-Band uses different technology — and is helmet-compatible. Here, retractable earbuds extend from a flexible neck band, and not only play your songs but let you take your calls, and stay aware of ambient sound and the dangers it alerts you to. All for $129.
Gifts For Apres
2. Portable speakers
For the apres gathering, the VAVA Voom 20 portable speaker is just the ticket. Though it’s small enough to fit in a parka pocket, it puts out enough rich and vibrant sound to enhance a slopeside picnic. It’s also a great bargain; the Voom 20 costs $60 on Amazon, yet it’s portable, waterproof, and plays for hours without recharge. And, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Gifts To Help You Get In Shape
By now, everybody knows about stationary bikes, Bowflex and Precor. They’re hi-tech and hi-cost. I have two that are way simpler and way cheaper.
No, they’re not just for kids any more. But, they provide giddy kid-fun. Meanwhile, you’re developing the things snow sliders need: leg strength, turning skills, balance and stamina. Sweet.
I’ve tested the two big brands, Razor and MICRO. They both work fine for full-size adults. My advice: Buy the models with big wheels, not small. Then go play.
4. Trekking poles
Yes, they’re more an upper body enhancer than a thigh builder, but trekking poles turn a stroll into a full-body workout. And when you use them in the city, strangers gleefully shout, “Where’s the snow?”
My advice. If money’s an issue, find an old pair of ski poles and shell out $6 or so for rubber tip protectors to cover the points. Don’t buy the $50 trekking poles; ski poles and more expensive trekking poles are lighter and better balanced. The best I’ve tested are also the most expensive — Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles, $160.
5. Ski boot bag
Let’s drop to feet; specifically, to how you heft your boots. The best way I’ve found is the Transpack TVR Pro. You can carry or backpack it. It holds helmet and gloves. And it gently dries your soaking wet boots overnight while you sip Chablis and listen to Mozart on your VAVA (or guzzle PBR and listen to the Chainsmokers). Cost? It retails for $220 but is often sold for less.
Oh, and you know to fly with your boots with you on the plane, not chancing them to checked luggage, right?
Of course, right.
6. Waterproof shell & base layer
Now, covering your core. If you’re a snowsporter, you believe in climate change, global warming, global weirding, whatever. Whatever you call it, you already know it’s real. And, unless you ski the frozen north, your next parka should probably reflect that reality. So. Think waterproof and wind-resistant, not arctic warm. Think layering up, not Michelin Manning up. Helly Hansen Ridge Shell Jacket fills that bill. It’s a no-insulation shell that’s waterproof, windproof and breathable. It costs $500-$525.
And while you’re layering Helly’s HH Dry underlayer gives superior moisture management to warm active skibodies. The HH Dry runs from $20 to $60.
7. Anti-fog goggles
Ears to feet, core to eyes. The eternal question, the vision thing is this: How come my goggles keep fogging up? And what can I do to make ‘em stop? Nearly everything’s been tried: double lenses, triple lenses, mega-vents, fans. Now, something new and potentially better — ABOM goggles.
ABOM cleverly slips a heated transparent film inside its two-part lens. The heat is powered by a built-in lithium-ion battery. It’s like a car’s rear-window defroster, only on your face. This size and technology doesn’t come cheap — $250. But the prospect of no mo’ fog might make it worth the price.
8. Waterproof watch
“Watch? Dude, I don’t need no watch. I got me a phone.”
Yes, you do, you social-influencing trendsetter, you. But if you’re a snow slider, there’s a problem. Unless you want to take off a glove, unzip a pocket, and haul out your phone every time somebody asks, “Dude, what time is it?” you need a watch.
Ah, but not any watch. You need something like the Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision. It’s hottub-waterproof, survives big bangs, shows up in the dark, has a built-in flashlight and even pulses SOS lights when the going gets really rough. The Night Vision retails for $695, often sells for much, much less. And you don’t have to take off your gloves to use it.
Gifts to Help You Ski And Snowboard More
9. Liftopia gift cards
If your friend already has all the gear they need, hook them up with what they want most – more days on the slopes!
A Liftopia gift card, in any amount from $5-$1000, will give them access to already amazing deals at over 250 ski areas in North America. No fees or expirations.
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