Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

WOW, it's been an extremely exciting start to winter with all the snow that has blanketed the entire west coast! From Alaska to Cali to Wyoming the storms have piled up so much snow that I get goose bumps just thinking about it. Then I start thinking about Christmas because it's always a better holiday when you get to play in the white stuff! It even makes the holiday shopping seem a bit more fun (or less evil if you view X-mas shopping the way my man does) when it includes ski/snowboard gear to go play in the snow with.

So, I thought that since I'm one of THOSE people who actually likes to shop for Christmas I might as well put together a list of great stocking stuffers for others who could use a few ideas. To make it even EASIER you can click on the item and it will take you straight to the place to buy it...

This belt is the most functional belt you can wear for skiing, snowboarding, or any other action sport you can think of, it's cool looking and it's cheap. There is nothing like it out there! I personally got sick of wearing a leather belt when I ski: it doesn't fit well and it warps with exposure to the elements of weather. I know this belt is new to the market so get it while it feels uber-exclusive to have one.

Socks are fairly cliche to give as a Christmas present. However, if you're giving the best pair of ski socks possible it's actually a great gift. A huge misnomer with sock giving is the notion that the more cushion a sock has, the more comfortable they become. However, it's the contrary. In fact, my feet go numb the more space that is taken up in my boots which ultimately leads to colder feet, no thank you! This particular pair of PHD ultra light Smartwool socks are comfortable, optimal sweat regulators and stink less than your average sock (all of these reasons are because they are made of Merino Wool). Since I discovered these socks I won't wear anything else.

Warm hands equals an ability to take one more run, and who wouldn't want that?! Hestra gloves and mittens have the most amazing fit, use the most nubile leather (which, consequently, goes easier on the nose for those quick wipes of dribble), and keep your hands warmer than other brands, which are all things your hands deserve. No joke, those little Hottie hand warmers were my best friend until I discovered Hestra mittens. Now, those poor things are dis-regarded like a old, broken ex-boyfriend.

A new helmet is always a great gift, and although it may not fit well in a stocking it's a hard gift to pass up with all the new bells and whistles that are included in helmets these days. Sure, you may think you or anyone else doesn't need any added features to something that is about safety but when those extras are about comfort and enjoying your day that much more, why not?! When Salomon asked me to help design my very own pro-model helmet I quickly obliged, now I could get exactly what I wanted in a helmet. First off, I need to have the option of music and this helmet is I-Pod ready. No more fumbling with headphones, the speakers are built right into the earpieces (and they are removable as well). Helmets don't always fit perfect but because this helmet is equipped with a custom air-pump system it allows for the exact fit you desire. Plus, the lining is super soft and cushy, no more irritated skin from the harsh weather combined with your helmet straps. One other great feature of this helmet is the Greek themed graphics, which is a nice change from the typically plain and boring brain bucket. For the guys, Cody Townsend's Salomon helmet also fits the bill. That helmet has the same sweet features but with a California-redwood tree-bear inspired graphic and a removable visor.

This is not a glamorous gift, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth a thousand words. This gift screams, "Hey, I care about you enough I really want you to live!" Don't forgo the shovel and probe, because that person may not only need to find you in an avy but they're also going to need the ability to dig you up. A beacon is truly only half the equation when it comes to being fully prepared and equipped for backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

Everyone that ventures into the backcountry should take an avalanche course. Even though you or your friend/significant other may have experience going into the backcountry, avalanche courses give one a healthy dose of reminders and invaluable information. This gift is also not sparkly and dazzling, but life is precious and is more worthy than any piece of jewelry.