As lots of people, not just in the Alps, wake up to snow today, with sub zero temperatures and the promise of more to come, at CDHQ we can't help but feel pretty excited! Coupled with the Xmas buzz in the air we thought it might be a good idea to take a look at gift ideas for skiers and boarders - from full on presents to stocking fillers. If you're trying to think of what to get the snowbunnies and powder hounds in your family hopefully this will give you some ideas.
Extra Special for that Extra Special Someone:
If your budget is ready to stretch then there are multiple possibilities. Ski clothing doesn't come cheap - and generally you get what you pay for.
Experienced skiers and boarders will generally prefer to buy their own jackets and pants as they will be looking for gear which is hardworking and technical. However if you want to surprise them, look at the top technical brands - Kjus, Arc'teryx, North Face, Salomon, Peak Performance etc. For a good technical jacket you're probably looking at prices over £250 and for pants something similar. Garments with Gore-Tex will add a premium to the price tag, but many hardcore mountain lovers wouldn't be in anything else. A good technical garment means that it will keep you warm and dry whether you're on the chairlift or in a couloir; it will have enough pockets to stow goggles, glasses and other paraphernalia; jacket hoods will cut out the wind without restricting field of vision too much, moisture generated by exertion will be wicked away so keeping the body dry. There are a lot of features to take into consideration - so if you're not aware of the importance of these, it's best to let the "giftee" choose for themselves.
The same could be said if you're thinking of buying hardwear - skis, boards, bindings etc. Again take them with you to the shops, or get a gift voucher.
If he or she is a backcountry enthusiast you could also consider items such as beeps, probes, shovels - again unless you know exactly what they want, it's probably better for them to choose for themselves.
Skiers and boarders need a lot of other items on the mountain - so this is ideal if you're not wanting to buy big but still want to make it meaningful. Items that could come in under the £100 mark include goggles, baselayer and midlayer garments, helmets (although these should always be tried for fit and size), gloves and glasses too.
Baselayers are often overlooked by the beginner so would make a great gift. Good baselayers will keep the skin dry and so the wearer stays warm. This is particularly good for beginners, who most probably will be exerting themselves more than they expect with the effort of staying upright on unfamiliar equipment. If you get sweaty in low temperatures dampness on the skin can very quickly turn cold which will effect your enjoyment. Brands to look for include Helly Hansen, Odlo, Icebreaker - make sure that any baselayer garments you buy promise to wick moisture away from the skin.
There are absolutely loads of cheaper items that would make skiers and boarders happy. Socks, neckwarmers, hats, sunblock, hand warmers, hip flasks - you name it the gift is out there. The more experienced skiers and boarders will tend to shy away from novelty items - so unless you don't mind the comedy hat with the arm and axe being consigned straight to the bin, don't buy it. For the intermediate to advanced look for function as well as funky.
When buying hats it's a good idea if these aren't too bulky - so that they can be easily put in a pocket if the temperatures rise, and also look for fleece lined hats which keep heads and ears much warmer than hats without linings.
Hopefully this will give you some ideas. Over in the Alps, where the snow is welcomed with open arms, most resorts are gearing up to be opening in a week or two. It's looking like it wil be a great start to the season!