Well, we all know what New England skiers and riders really want - a white Christmas. Neither the winter warlock nor our most ski-friendly meteorologists can guarantee that. So back to finding that perfect gift, without a huge hit to the wallet (read: so you have enough money left to ski or board yourself). Here are a few of fun things for skiers to give and receive.
SmartWool PhD Ski Socks
The name alone sounds impressive. Get your friend a PhD for just $16-24. These super socks, worn officially by the US Ski and Snowboard Team, will keep their feet happy all season long, they prevent odor too so it's good for the giver if you carpool with stinky feet Stu.
Disposable Hand and Toe Warmers
Ok, so these are quick, cheap and disposable, unlike your ski buddy (hopefully). Your friend will remember long after the 8 hours of warmth in their mittens and boots that you provided them this thoughtful toasty gift. Buy them by the case for the best deal (and grab a handful for yourself too).
Portable Boot Dryer
Nothing ruins your day, and your ski or snowboards boots longevity, like wet clammy boot liners. A portable boot dryer quickly dries your boots with inserts, so you don't have to pull out the tight liner from the stiff cold plastic shell, or risk melting your boots by the fire. You can also put your mittens and gloves on these dryers for an hour or two, and warm your gear in the morning before hitting the slopes. Seirus makes very portable corded boot toasters for $25.
Protect your friend's face with the iconic blue tin or tube of Dermatone that the US Ski Team slathers on for sun and wind protection. It's all natural, with SPF 23, and a steal at about $8 a stick.
Locks of Love
A ski or snowboard lock for the one you love says "I care" or at least "I don't want anyone to swipe your stuff." Burton makes a Cable Lock that's pocket size with a three digit combo for $14.95.
Wax on Wax off
Portable ski or snowboard wax for that particular snowsports pal will be appreciated, and only sets you back the cost of a six pack. Swix and Maxx Waxx come in small (4oz) dispensers for on-slope application. No iron, no fuss, no muss.
If your Boarding Buddy is a Tool
Burton makes a handy dandy pocket size Zip Tool for on the fly fixes with a wrench, Phillips and Flathead screwdrivers, an Allen Key, plus a squeegee for those snowmaking goggle splecks. It's the Swiss Army Knife for snowboarders, but skiers will like it too. And yes, you can open a beer with the Burton Zip Tool, the ultimate bromance gift for 10 bucks.
A Boyne Gift Card
This little piece of plastic can be used toward lift tickets at Sunday River, Sugarloaf or Loon, a spa treatment, swag in their respective retail shops, or even to buy a round of beers at the Foggy Goggle or Widowmaker. Denominations are $25, 50, 100 and so on. They'll even ship it straight to your recipient, fun and done.
Buy the Cow, get the friend for free?
Wachusett has a COW card, available in $10 increments for everything from lift tickets, to lunch in the lodge, gear, beer, you get the gist. Your ski buddy will be udder-ly thankful for the COW: card of Wachusett.
End Bad Hair
A beanie for your BFF is a great gift, to cover up their bad helmet hair with a stylish cap. Bonus: you don't have to stare at their flat funky hair at the après ski bar. Beanies are available in a rainbow of colors, stretch to fit most fat heads and typically cost $12-18.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.