The 16 Best Holiday Gifts for Skiers and Snowboarders
Upgrade your skis, goggles, helmet, and baselayers
Skiing will be a little different this year, but it’s definitely happening. Some resorts have increased season pass prices to limit visitors while others have launched online reservation systems. Restaurants have been replaced by outdoor dining bubbles, and masks will be everywhere. But snow guns have started blowing snow, and a few Colorado resorts have already started spinning lifts for the season.
If you do plan on skiing or riding this year, you should upgrade your gear. These 16 products make up our ski kit and would make a great gift for a friend or yourself.
Anon M4 Goggles
There’s nothing worse than skiing on a cloudy day with dark lenses. The M4’s magnetic system makes it easy to swap between the two included Zeiss lenses. For comfort, these goggles go above and beyond with triple-layer face foam that conforms to your face, and an adjustable silicone strap that offers a customizable, sealed fit. They also come with an integrated face mask.
Lululemon Surge Long Sleeve Shirt
Although Lululemon designed it for running, the Surge long sleeve makes a great base layer for skiing. Wear it under your sweatshirt and jacket and it will provide extra protection against the cold while wicking away sweat if you start to overheat.
Smith Vantage Helmet
This has been my favorite helmet year after year thanks to the slick, low-profile design that’s packed with smart features, including grooves along the sides to hold goggles in place and a versatile two-part venting system (with 21 vents) that keeps me cool no matter what. It also features MIPS, a low-friction layer slides slide a few millimeters in every direction, reducing rotational motion to the brain during impact.
WNDR Vital 100 Skis
WNDR Skis are all about performance while reducing environmental impact. Parts of the ski core are made from microalgae instead of fossil fuels, which not only reduces carbon use, but also improves the skis strength-to-weight ratio, torsional rigidity, and damping characteristics. While I have yet to test them out, I’m intrigued. The specs — 100 underfoot, relatively lightweight, and fully reverse-cambered — all point to fun backcountry touring. Plus, the brand is barely two years old, so you’re unlikely to come anyone else using the same skis.
Burton Helium Powergrid Fleece
We’d guess that forgetfulness was the mother of invention in terms of this lightweight Burton mid layer — a balaclava or face mask tends to be just the sort of item that falls out of a pocket or otherwise wanders off, and thus the tinkerers over at Burton elected to attach it to the garment under the guise of a slick, three-piece ergonomic hood that can be pulled up for facial coverage when riding. Stretchy, breathable, moisture-wicking, and with clutch details like thumb loops, chafe-free softlock seams and a zippered bicep pocket for small items.
Give’r Frontier Waxed Mittens
Handmade in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, these burly gloves will last for seasons thanks to the all leather exterior. A fabric cuff keeps out snow and cold and a thin liner of synthetic insulation keeps fingers warm on even the chilliest days.
Salomon QST 99 Skis
Updated for the 2021 season, this is the best ski for most resort skiers. It’s well balanced for skiing groomers thanks to the mix of carbon fiber stringers and layers of wobble-swallowing cork. At 99 millimeters underfoot, it will have you moving edge to edge quickly and is the sweet spot for both carving and floating in softer snow. Never clicked into a pair of skis? This is a great ski to learn on. An advanced skier that likes the whole mountain? This ski will probably make you better.
Smarwool PhD Pro Ski Race Socks
Smartwool designed this ski-specific sock in collaboration with pro racer Mikaela Shiffrin. They’re crafted with Indestructawool technology, a patent-pending knitting technique, that allows them to have thinner fabric but still be as durable as a normal sock. Extra fabric around the toes keeps your feet warm and an elastic arch means the sock won’t scrunch up in your boot.
Backcountry Cottonwoods Jacket
Backcountry has been selling ski goods for decades, but they’re relatively new to creating their own. Still, I love their ski-specific layers. The Cottonwood is a burly hardshell designed for skiing and riding in wet, snowy conditions. It’s made from three-layer Gor-Tex with a thick outer layer that makes you feel like you’re wearing armor. Just don’t read that as restrictive. Articulated sleeve patterning offers easy mobility on the hill and an adjustable hood and cuffs seal out chilly mountain weather.
Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib Pant
Since you’ve got to match your top and bottom, it good that the Cottonwoods bibs are just as comfortable as the jacket. They’re made front the same burly and waterproof Gore-Tex and have all the touches we look for in a shell including Articulated knees and stretch panels, zippered ventilation in the thigh, internal gaiters to keep out snow, and scuff guards to prevent sharp ski edges from cutting the pants.
You need a comfy shoe for apres, and Glerups should be at the top of the list. They’re made from felted wool that’s warm and conforms to your feet after about a month of wear. I like the rubber-soled version, which provides sturdy and waterproof traction on slushy streets.
Black Diamond Cirque 35 Pack
Most backpacks these days come with far too many dedicated pockets. Designers try to anticipate where I want to store my stuff instead of letting me make those decisions. That’s why I love the Cirque—it’s really just a bag with shoulder straps and a waist belt. The 35-liter capacity, which is a little more than my other ski packs offer, accepts a lot of stuff, so I mainly use it on full-day missions.
Mammut Barryvox Package
With many ski resorts limiting ticket sales this year, more skiers are going to be looking to try backcountry skiing for the first time. If you or someone on your gift list is looking to try backcountry skiing for the first time, the most important thing that can do is take an Avy 1 class. The second most important thing is to get the correct safety gear. This package includes the three most important pieces: beacon, shovel, and probe.
Honey Stinger Cracker Bars
Stashing a snack in your jacket is crucial to keeping morale (and energy) up while skiing. While I’m a big fan of pocket bacon (a few strips of pre-cooked bacon stored in a plastic bag), these Honey Stinger bars are far more practical and just as tasty. They’re kinda like a Reese’s mixed with an animal cracker.
Icebreaker Merino 250 Vertex Thermal Leggings
Besides making your legs look like they’re chiseled from marble (it’s actually a photo of melting glaciers), these leggings will also keep you warm on cold lift rides. They’re made from 100% merino wool and are midweight, so they’ll keep you warm, but not too warm.
Eddie Bauer Fleece Cap
You need a hat to cover helmet hair and keep your head warm when you’re not skiing. You could go with a classic beanie, or this cool option, which is essentialy a ballcap made from cozy polyester fleece.
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