While every skier I know has “snow’’ on the top of their Christmas wish list, you might need more deliverable goods for your ski buddies. Here are my favorite ski and snowboard gifts, from cheap to steep. Below you will find something for every ski friend who warrants a gesture, from the the pal who should get something but not necessarily a new pair of pricey goggles to the sweetheart you want to woo with serious swag so they will be as excited to ski as you are.
A Liftopia gift card:Liftopia sells discounted lift tickets for more than 250 alpine resorts across North America. You decide the amount — cards are sold in $5 to $1,000 denominations — and your friend can ski when and where they want.
Hand and toe warmers: These cheap pocket-size hand warmer packets are my personal life saver. Heat Factory or Grabbers chemical heat packets provide about seven hours of warmth, extending your time between lodge breaks to thaw out frozen fingers and toes. I have a pack a day habit — so I am always happy to give and receive (hint hint) hand warmers by the case. Give them to your ski buddy so they don’t bum yours all season.
Ski socks: Ski instructors, pro skiers, and racers all agree: If your feet aren’t happy, you can’t be on top of your ski game. Quality ski socks make a huge difference in foot comfort, warmth, and wicking of funky foot sweat and odor. Ski socks cost $10-30, worth it for the technical fabric and fit. SmartWool and Vermont’s Darn Tough socks come in fun colors, shapes and sizes for skiers and snowboarders.
Ski gifts for a ski cause: The New England Ski Museum, located at the base of Cannon Mountain, has great retro ski posters, videos, ski t-shirts and ties, games, and snowflake jewelry, for sale in their online store, from as little as $12. Best of all, your purchase benefits this non-profit ski association that is preserving ski history in New England.
Boot bags: The Powder Trekker Ski Boot Bag is the best I have found. For $120 you can pack for a day, weekend or week out west with this versatile backpack. The Powder Trekker holds your ski boots in separate waterproof compartments, helmet, goggles, and gloves, with lots of smart pockets for your pass, sunglasses, and a surprisingly roomy center compartment for base layers. Kulkea’s boot bag is super lightweight, made of performance fabric, looks moderately stylish (for a bakcpack), and keeps you organized on a powder morning. Kulkea means “to go’’ in Finnish, and this will be your go to ski boot bag.
Alp N Rock apparel: This ski-style brand makes gorgeous après shirts. I finally splurged for one myself — Merry Christmas to me — and I LOVE it. If you want your gal to embrace skiing, buy her a beautiful wool henley with alpine motifs and cool graphics. Like many of their items, this stylish shirt goes from the slopes to the bars, anywhere you want to make a ski statement ($160). Alp N Rock makes crew necks for dudes too, it’s like Affliction goes alpine.
High-tech gloves: Go Glove is a ski glove liner for high techies on the hill. Dubbed a “wearable wireless remote,’’ this Bluetooth glove can operate your phone, camera, GoPro, control your playlist and volume, you name it, with a touch of your well-protected fingers. The Go Glove is $129 and you can wear it under your ski mitts or gloves, no more numb-finger fumbling with your devices.
Patriots skis: For the Tom Brady fan on your list, get RAMP’s New England Patriots Ski emblazoned with NFL graphics. This 90-mm all-mountain ski made in Park City, Utah, is $649, but getting in an early run with these before the Patriots play on Super Bowl Sunday would be priceless.
Ski shop gift card: Nothing says I care about you like a gift card that can be used for an edge sharpening and wax to make old skis feel like new, typically $50-$75.
If none of these items fit your price points or the folks on your list, then you can always give them snow. Organize a trip with your friends or family to a New England ski resort. They have been making snow since November and it’s still surprisingly white on many slopes despite the warm weather.
Happy Holidays, see you on the slopes