The Toys of Winter

20 big-boy toys to help you conquer that mid-winter malaise

January 30, 2018 9:00 am

Friday is Groundhog Day, the cruelest of holidays.

If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, it’s six more weeks of bone-chilling temps and heaps of snow.

And if he doesn’t? Look outside and enjoy … bone-chilling temps and heaps of snow.

Regardless of how soon winter ends, we’ve compiled 20 essential toys to help you endure it with aplomb.

From snowball launchers to weatherproof speakers to your own vintage Sno-Cat, here’s hoping ol’ Phil stays in his hole till the end of time.

Snowball Thrower

The idea of using a tool to throw snow seems wrong … until you’re 20 minutes into a snowball fight and your fingers look like hot dogs just out of the freezer. This $9 hucker might be a kids’ toy, but the distance and accuracy will surprise those on the receiving end of an iceball to the face.  


Sled Legs
Sled Legs

A chance to shred pow and all the cartilage in your knee? Sled Legs definitely aren’t the brightest toy on the mountain, but they do evoke the fence-hopping recklessness of youth, and that can be a good thing — in small doses.  



Sled Legs for your feet. Ice skates for mountains. Skis without the skis. No matter how you explain them, if you buckle these puppies onto your boots and slide down a mountain, you’re gonna be on everyone’s Instagram story with the caption: What the hell is he wearing? Just be sure to test them in the backyard before you hop on a chairlift.


The ICEBOX Igloo Tool
Grand Shelters Inc.

An all-in-one igloo-making device that packs down into a portable package. Whether you’re building one in the backyard with your kids or taking it ice fishing, you’re finally gonna get it right.


Hammerhead Pro XD Sled
Yukon Charlie’s

This ain’t your grandpappy’s toboggan. With polycarbonate skis, an aluminum frame and one badass name, this sled deserves something bigger than the hill behind the local middle school.


Double Rider Snowtube Cover & R20 Rubber Tubes
Tube Pro Inc.

The exact tube commercial hotels purchase in bulk for mountain resorts. Pick up your own to enjoy the ride far away from legions of wailing kiddies.


Hikr Snowshoes

Actually enjoy those “miles to go before [you] sleep” with a hyper-light, heavy-duty construction that can handle all manner of snow, ice and subzero conditions.


DemerBox Speaker

The folks at DemerBox cut a hole in a literal frozen lake and threw this speaker in for a dip to prove its “weatherproof” claims. Indestructibility with a side of Bluetooth capability? Yes, please.


The Seeley Slider Dog Sled and Kicksled
Affordable Dog Sleds

This no-frills kit works just as well powered by humans or canines. If you’re of the latter persuasion: you’ll never have to argue about whose turn it is to walk the dog again (and will most likely need some extra accessories).


Custom Snowboards

As personal as snowboarding gets. This woodshop in Vermont asks you to design your board, then mixes lightweight poplar with fiberglass to create one-of-a-kind boards primed for the backcountry.


Phantom 4 Pro

Capture colder-month beauty with the Phantom 4 Pro. With a longer flight time, all manner of obstacle-sensing features and a new DJI camera, it’s time to take to the skies. That winter white colorway looks fresh, too.


SnoGo Bike

Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum and RockShox forward suspension, the SnoGo can handle whatever downhill danger you throw at it.


Corvus Fat Tire Bike

Fat tire bikes are like Segways: easy to make fun of from afar, but addicting for those who partake. This particular cycle from Fatback is a sturdy, industry-leading carbon design — perfect for newcomers, but with a pedigree that includes records on ultra-distance competitions like the Iditarod Trail Invitational.


Apache Backcountry Track System

Slap these treads on any compatible ATV and you’ll be accelerating, braking and cornering better than a snowmobile, even in the backcountry. The contact patch is 23% bigger than Can-Am’s impressive Apache 360 LT. Don’t know if you can handle that deep snow? Now you know.


Stephen N. Flanders / CC-BY-SA-4.0

DN Iceboat
See local retailer

It’s a sailboat … on ice. While there’s no chance of you capsizing and sinking your vessel (as long as the lake is, you know, actually frozen), you’re steering a speeding metal bullet on blades — so watch out for those neighborhood kids out ice skating.


2018 800 TITAN Adventure 155

You’re shelling out for a snowbike. Why settle? We could wax interminably about the heated grips, the Cobra tracks and Interactive Digital Display … but really, just look at this thing.


Jackie Chan Oro-Amaranto Skis
Foil Skis

Developed for Jackie Chan, the king of jumping over things, these signature model skis include 14k gold-plated bindings, an Amaranto-Rosewood-topsheet (a durable wood also called “purpleheart” for its rich color) and a leather travel bag hand-stitched in Italy. Your spring rock skis, these definitely are not.


Vintage Tucker Sno-Cat
Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation

These gargantuan orange snow pontoons — normally used for military, oil drilling and utilities purposes — are now the preferred vehicle of private landowners with mountain retreats. The $125K 2000Xtra Lite is the neophyte’s vehicle of choice, but it’s the vintage models you need to keep an eye out for (or unearth from storage).


© Pflatsch / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated / GFDL

Bell 212
Bell Helicopter

A trusted go-to helicopter for heli-skiing expeditions in blistering, hard-to-reach environs, the Bell 212 is a veritable airbus that’ll pack 10 of your friends into its spacious cabin. If you’re looking for a sexier (though less spacious, and harder to come by) model, study up on the Eurocopter AS350, also known as the A-Star.


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