With Christmas just six days away, panic may be setting in for skiers. You don't want to sacrifice next weekend shopping, you want to be skiing on the fresh snow that's hitting the slopes of northern New England ski areas. So, here's help, six last minute gift ideas for the skiers and riders on your list.
A Liftopia gift card. Liftopia sells discounted lift tickets at over 150 alpine resorts across North America, so giving the gift of versatile vertical is easy, and you are getting a downhill deal, like $44 tickets to Sugarbush. You decide the amount, $5 to $1,000 denominations, and your friend can use their gift card when and where they want to ski this season - at serious savings.
Disposable hand and toe warmers. These cheap pocket size hand warmer packets are my personal life saver (so I hope my kids take note). Heat Factory or Grabbers chemical heat packets provide about seven hours of toasty comfort, and extend your time on the slopes between lodge breaks for frozen fingers and toes. I admit it, I have a pack a day habit - so a case will put a smile on my face.
Give the gift of a good tune. I'm not talking about an iTunes gift card - though that's not the worst idea. I suggest you set your ski buddy up with a professional sharpening and wax job if they have not tuned their boards in a while. A good ski tuning, at your local ski shop or at the mountain, can revitalize a pair of skis or snowboard, improving edge grip, performance and bottom surface slide. Since buying your buddy new skis is probably out of the question, a tune will make their equipment feel "like new" for $20-50.
Ski socks. Ski instructors, pro skiers, and racers all agree - if your feet aren't happy, you aren't on top of your ski game. Ski socks make a huge difference in foot comfort, warmth, and wicking of funky foot sweat and odor. Ski socks are $10-20, and worth it for the superior technical fabric and fit. SmartWool and Vermont's Darn Tough socks come in fun colors, all shapes and sizes for skiers and snowboarders.
Video/Camera Goggles. If you want your ski companion to make a ski film or take photos of you on the slopes, then set them up with the Zeal HD Camera Goggle. Way more discreet than wearing a GoPro or Contour cam on your head, these goggles have a built in 8 mexapixel camera with HD video recording. They're steezy looking, have glove touch control on the outside frame, automatically adjust focus and light levels, and have an in-goggle viewfinder. And the resulting ski videos and photos will be priceless - or $399 for the goggles.
Retro Ski Stuff. I am a big fan of the New England Ski Museum, located at the base of Cannon Mountain. Their online store offers an outstanding collection of retro ski posters, decor, ski t-shirts and ties, games and toys, even snowflake jewelry for sale, from as little as $12 on up. Best of all, your purchase benefits this non-profit that is preserving ski history in New England.
Happy shopping and I will see you on the slopes.
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.