The Toys of Winter
20 big-boy toys to help you conquer mid-winter malaise
This weekend, winter storm Harper will finish its cross-country sweep, pummeling everyone from the Bay Area to the Big Apple.
And before the season is out, we’re bound to get another anthropomorphically named blizzard or two.
Do you have the gear to ride them out? (We mean that literally.)
In our annual Toys of Winter roundup, you’ll find wintry vehicles like Game of Thrones snow tubes, dirt-to-snow motorbikes and best-in-class skis, as well as 17 other contraptions for enjoying the arctic terrain.
Whether it’s a marshmallow world or The Day After Tomorrow, these’ll keep your spirits up (especially the flask gloves).
Image via Amazon
Ice Dragon Snow Tube
There’s only one way to get ready for the last season of Game of Thrones: it’s not by rewatching all 67 episodes, but by charging down your local sledding hill on this inflatable snow tube that’s a dead ringer for undead Viserion.
Where to buy: Amazon, where you’ll also find flamingo, penguin, unicorn and polar bear tubes
Enduro EnergyFlux Rechargeable Hand Warmer
Whether you’re trying to keep warm on the lift, sitting in the stands at a football game (or a postseason baseball game come fall, should you be so lucky), or just walking around town, you could be served quite well by this nifty little rechargeable hand-warmer — especially since it also functions as a portable phone charger and flashlight.
Where to buy: Human Creations on Amazon
WhiSki Poles 2.0
This one requires little explanation: you’re getting a set of high-quality, telescoping aluminum ski poles with a 4-oz. removable flask stashed in each handle. The company points out that these receptacles can be used to convey pretty much any small valuable around the mountain, but let’s be real — you’re filling them with whiskey. Just stay safe out there.
Where to buy: Kickstarter, but delivery is still slated for January and February
Image via Huckberry
Trail Crampon Ultra
There are boots out there that promise superior traction, and even some that tout “retractable spikes,” but when hitting the icy trail your best bet is a pair of top-notch crampons. This option from Hillsound Equipment stretches over your footwear for running as well as hiking, with the added security of a velcro strap.
Where to buy: Huckberry, which also offers a lightweight option for $49
Images via Huckberry
These sleeping bag bodysuits were tested in Patagonia, but they’d have held up just as well out in Hoth. The Selk’Bag Lite is constructed from a plush polyester shell, packs down to the size of a football, and comes with a kangaroo pocket in the front for storage and zip-up booties to protect your feet. It’s a Snuggie on steroids, people. Don’t question it.
Where to buy: Huckberry
Image via Amazon
The Kindling Cracker
“Chop your own wood and it’ll warm you twice,” they say. We say, the kindling cracker is for lifehackers. Still working on that one … but point is this ingenious cast iron tool turns splitting wood (for your blazing hearth, or even your summer campfires) from a chore into a breeze. Go ahead and grab a winter ale while you work, this thing only takes one hand.
Where to buy: Amazon
The Flask Glove
Insulated, waterproof gloves with two hidden, removable 10-oz. flasks on the backs (what you put in those flasks is on you, friend). You can operate the nozzles without any extra handiwork, and the touchscreen fingertips mean you can imbibe, text and survive the cold with minimal fuss.
Where to buy: FNDN
Fiberglass flip-flops, basically. Strap a pair of these onto some boots and choose your own adventure. They’ll downhill ski, cross-country ski, or glide like ice skates over a flat forest floor. Grab a pair now and save up to $24 on Indiegogo’s early bird specials.
Where to buy: Indiegogo, but unfortunately these won’t ship until May
Snowcookie Ski Tracker
If your skiing goals are more advanced than just making it down the mountain in one piece, this tracking system from Swiss company Snowcookie may well help you achieve them. Starting at $350, the Smart Ski Tracker requires you to attach one sensor to each of your skis and another to your body as a way of monitoring, among other things, your carving, technique and body position. Then, when you’re back at the lodge, you can geek out over all your data on the app.
Where to buy: Snowcookie
The Volkl M5 Mantra
For the fifth generation of their flagship Mantra model, the German ski giant has made some sweeping changes: gone is the full rocker shape, replaced by a more traditional camber that will give experienced skiers more finesse and responsiveness when setting an edge. At 96mm, the ski is also a touch more narrow, but the addition of two layers of titanal — a thin, flexible metal — ensure that the ski remains light and agile on big powder days.
Where to buy: Backcountry
Ozone Hyperlink V1 Snowkite
$1,600 – $2,570
Did you see the video of that Mary Poppins wannabe cruising across the frozen lake with an umbrella? With this snowkite, you’ll harness those winds to even greater effect, and on your skis or snowboard of choice. The Hyperlink V1 is aggressive enough for those looking to add airtime to the mix (it’s used in the video above), but as Ozone notes it’s also a good one to learn on.
Where to buy: Ozone is based overseas, but you can buy through their U.S. distributor
7SPHERE HYDRO_BOT Jacket
Your winter sporting just got comfier. This smart ski jacket (with detachable hood) wicks away sweat with the touch of a button, but still keeps out the elements while keeping your body temp regulated.
Where to buy: KJUS
Dock Dome Pro.6 Ivory
A tent for all seasons, the Dome easily transforms from an open-air shelter to weatherproof sleeping quarters. Fits up to four adults and two children, and it all packs down into a large, 28-lb. duffel.
Where to buy: Snow Peak
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Will you look cool on a fat-tire bike? Certainly not. Will you feel cool, maneuvering where your thin-tired friends dare not go? You bet, especially if it’s astride this OG fatty from Surly. It’s equipped to take you off-road touring, but is equally at home commuting or taking a spin on your frozen lake of choice.
Where to buy: Find a local dealer here
Image via Hammacher Schlemmer
Don’t trust yourself on skis? Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride. The Snowcraft attaches to a snowmobile or ATV and glides over snow, ice and whatever else is on the mountain. You can sit back and enjoy the view through one of the craft’s eight windows, either alone or with a friend — the Snowcraft comfortably fits two.
Where to buy: Hammacher Schlemmer
Roam Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
The hype around Roam has been building over the last year, and starting next month, curious powderhounds will finally get the chance to demo the next-gen product in either Tahoe or Park City. Before you book, a refresher on what the hell a robotic skiing exoskeleton is: basically, a souped-up leg brace that intuitively redistributes weight by utilizing a pair of air bladders that inflate as wearers turn and lunge their way down the mountain. The company views it as both a therapy for chronically injured skiers and a practice device for racers who want to extend training times.
Where to buy: They’re not for sale just yet, but you can sign up for a demo here
The Buffalo Icecycle
Think SoulCycle, but instead of cycling in a dark candle-lit room, you’re outside, on ice and actually moving somewhere. Instead of a front wheel, this ice bike has a stainless steel skate blade and a back wheel that’ll help propel you across the frozen canal or tundra of your choice.
Where to buy: Hammacher Schlemmer
Camso DTS 129
Your dirt bike shouldn’t have to spend the winter in the back of the garage with your baseball mitts and lawn mower. Camso’s dirt-to-snow conversion kit combines a shock-calibrated track design with an aluminum front ski for cutting through snow at speeds you’re used to hitting on the dirt in high July. Updates on the latest model include more reliable braking and a side panel with improved durability.
Where to buy: Find a local dealer here
Image via eBay
Boston Bruins Zamboni
Ever dreamt of owning your own Zamboni? What about another Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins? Dream no more! For the right (read: black-and-gold bleeding) superfan, there’s a Zamboni currently up for grabs on eBay that not only features signatures from team players, but also carried Brad Marchand and Torey Krug in the Bristol, RI Fourth of July parade. But as the listing states, it can “be easily converted to your own custom color, team or business logos.”
Where to buy: eBay
Image via Craigslist
Blacktail Mountain Ski Area
Should you by any chance have a spare, oh, we don’t know, $3.5 million burning a hole in the pockets of your ski pants, boy, have we got a proposition for you. How’d you like to be the owner of your very own ski resort on Blacktail Mountain in Lakeside, Montana? It’s got everything: a lodge, terrain park, 1,000 acres of forest and three chairlifts — with runs starting mere feet from the parking lot.
Where to buy: Landstar Properties, contact information on Craigslist
Main photo via Camso, inline photos via respective companies unless otherwise noted
Additional reporting by Mike Conklin, Tanner Garrity, Walker Loetscher, Logan Mahan and Kirk Miller
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