From Christmas to birthdays, we all try to find the perfect gift that will be memorable. You want it to be useful but at the same time fun. With our passion being on the slopes, we thought we’d share our favorite gift ideas for skiers and snowboarders that we’ve gotten over the years… or wished we had.
Don’t Be Slippin’
When it comes to gift ideas for skiers and snowboarders similar to all other people, it’s finding something that they’ve always wanted but probably would never buy. In that regard, winter slippers are an awesome option. No matter how well fitting those ski boots are, your feet are going to be sore after a full day on the slopes. Compared to normal slippers, this particular variety is usually insulated and have winter boot-like traction on the bottom. They can wear them in the ski lodge or in the parking lot enjoying some post-lap brews. There are the classic Aerogel Booties that would fit into a ski bag. Or for something more fashionable, the new Vans Snow Lodge Slippers or the Ugg Tasman Slippers are both great options.
Toasty Toes ‘N Digits
Portable Boot Dryer
Speaking of comfy feet, another great item to include on gift ideas for skiers and snowboarders – a portable boot and glove dryer. From warm sunny days to cold snowy ones, the gear on your hands and feet almost always need to be dried out. Instead of putting them too close to a fire or burning them on an electric heating vent, get them a portable boot dryer. The Therm-ic USB Boot heater and the 13 watt Dry Guy Dx Boot Dryer allow you to plug it into your car or in the comfort of your home. Regardless of where they dry them, they’ll be happy that their boots and gloves are nice and dry on the second day skiing or their fortieth.
Coozy For Your Phone
Thermal Phone Case
We’ve all been there. You pull out your phone and attempt to take a picture of the beautiful mountains behind your better half. Instead, the phone’s screen goes black. It’s dead due to the cold temps. Depending on your budget, there’s a few options out there. Similar to a coozy for your beer, the “phoozy” makes sure your phone doesn’t burn up in the heat or freeze to death in the cold. Water-resistant, splash-proof and sand-proof; plus, it even floats in water for easy retrieval of your device from the water’s surface.
Keepin’ The Drinks Cool…. Or Warm
Brightly colored and built to last, a Hydro Flask is the ultimate outdoor warrior’s liquid container. They’re easy to clean. Fun to decorate with stickers. Be it coffee, water, or beer, the Hydro Flask will ensure that whatever temperature it was when it was poured, it will stay that way. How? Two walls of stainless steel with a vacuum between prevent condensation and heat transfer to the outside of the bottle, keeping drinks hot or cold for hours on end. Even if they already own one, just like a potato chip, you can’t just have one.
For The Fashionista
Limited Edition Goggles
It’s true nearly every skier and snowboarder owns a pair of goggles. They’re essential on those cold snowy days where the powder is piling up quickly. One thing most skiers and snowboarders don’t do is pick a pair of fashionable goggles. They’re usually black and boring… make this the gift that they’ll keep forever. And when it comes to style points as well as using the latest in lens technology, Dragon is near the top. One half of the Local Freshies® crew can’t ride without them. What makes them shine in style is that they do a lot of collaborations with professionals and other companies such as Spyder giving you one-of-a kind options. For snowboarders, Brian Iguchi is the “Yoda” of backcountry snowboarding, and of course, Dragon offers up a PXV goggle with his art on it. From a skier’s perspective, Dragon has collaborated with Olympian Alex Hall and Spyder. Born in Fairbanks, he cut his teeth in Switzerland. Now based in Salt Lake City, Dragon has created a one-off NFX google that matches a pair of Spyder sunglasses.
High quality goggles aren’t cheap. Even the best ones with their scratch resistant film can get ruined, even if you are meticulous. What’s a skier or snowboarder to do? Fed up with this issue, a company called Gogglesoc has created the perfect solution – a stretchy microfiber cover designed to protect those beauties when you aren’t using them. The greatest part is that they come in all sorts of different designs and colors to pick from. These covers are especially helpful in the maritime climates where the snow sticks to everything and leaves droplets everywhere.
Protect Yo Neck
Balaclava or Neck Gaiter
Another item that skiers and snowboarders may have but can always have more is the neck warmer. Similar to a base layer, you shouldn’t have just one but a few different ones to fit the weather. On a warm spring day, the sun can be brutal and a thin one makes sure your skin doesn’t get burnt like toast. You want to find one that wicks away moisture and has UV blocking characteristics. For mid-winter conditions, you’ll want one that’s a bit heavier that blocks the wind AND keeps you warm.
Stay Warm & Keep That Body Cool
As we talked about above in the neck warmer section, a base layer is critical for skiing and snowboarding. Think of it as a second skin. It helps the body regulate its temperature by keeping it warm while at the same time wicking away moisture from the skin. We’re big fans of Smartwool base layers. As the name dictates, it’s made of wool, but it’s some of the softest wool we’ve ever felt. For mid-winter, we typically rock a 250 weight, and for the rest of the season, a 150.
The Man Behind The Maps
We all have friends that have visited dozens upon dozens of resorts. If there’s a man that has sparked skiers and snowboarders’ imaginations more than anyone else, it’s artist James Niehues. He is the Rembrandt of skiing. His trails are true ski art. From Killington to Boyne and all around the world, your friend has probably seen many of his works. Now, this 292-page hardcover coffee table book – The Man Behind The Maps reveals the story behind him as well as 200 ski resort trail maps he’s created during his career.
Skis and snowboards being stolen from resorts isn’t that common, but it’s starting to happen more and more especially if they’re new. A quick way to ensure your gear doesn’t get lifted is to throw on a lock such as the Dakine Cool Lock. It isn’t a hefty one, but it’ll deter 99.99999% of those thieves that are looking for a quick grab n’ go. And for only $15, it makes for a great stocking stuffer.
Living That Après Lifestyle
One of the best parts about skiing and snowboarding is that it isn’t just about sliding down the mountain. It’s an opportunity to celebrate. To enjoy the sun. The snow. The everything. For many, that means a nice cold frosty brew tailgating or a Hot Toddy in the ski lodge more than schussing down the slopes. If that’s the case, get them a set of stainless steel beer pint glasses or even a compact camp grill.
Ski Resort Puzzle
No matter if you ski from the first to the last chair spinning, there’s going to be a lot of time to relax afterwards. Grab them a puzzle of their favorite ski resort. They can sip on a glass of wine or cold brew while they assemble the jigsaw puzzle. Alone or with a group of friends, they can work on it for hours or a few minutes whenever they’re in the mood.
Ski Bottle Opener
What’s more the Après ski life than popping open a bottle of a ski-town’s local brew off of a ski. Recycled from old skis, this wall mounted bottle opener will be the envy of all your ski buddy’s friends. Perfect for a bar, garage, or any ski cave near you.
For Those That Venture Into The Great Beyond
Backcountry Bucket List
On the other side of the spectrum, there are those that have decided skiing within a boundary is just too boring. It isn’t about how good the snow is but rather about the adventure. Gift ideas for skiers that fit the mold of not just a backcountry skier but a mountaineer, give them the ultimate bucket list: “Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America.” NO ONE has skied all fifty… and so this inspired Cody Townsend to attempt to ski all of them within three years. His escapades are one of our favorite ski documentaries out there. Another option for those backcountry enthusiasts that only ski in their own backyard, consider picking up one of the many guidebooks out there such as Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra.
AIARE Field Book
From avalanches to wilderness first aid, lots of things can happen when you go backcountry skiing. And for many, that’s reason enough to get out there. A great tool we use religiously to reduce the risk is an AIARE field book. In our minds, this is as essential as a probe, shovel, and avalanche transceiver when traveling in the wild. It helps you become aware of the potential avalanche hazards. Identify where you want to go and how to create a plan to manage those hazards. The goal is to be able to continue playing in the mountains for a whole lifetime not just for a day.
The Jet-Setting Skier
Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes
If your friend lives by the Beastie Boys mantra when it comes to chasing powder:
But when the snow is fallin’, then I am gone (oh weee)
You might think that I’m a fanatic
A phone call from Utah and I’m throwing a panic
And hops on a flight as soon as a storm approaches, help them be organized when they go. One of our key items that we include on a ski trip packing list are the Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes. They allow you to organize pre-trip, and once they get there, they’ll unpack quickly and know where everything is.
It’s true there are a few special places you can take a locomotive to get to the slopes in North America. Unfortunately for the majority, you have to fly or drive to get there. For many of us, the best option is to drive. That way you have all your equipment and clothes as well as flexibility if the snow decides to skunk you. One of our BIGGEST pet peeves are people that don’t clean off the roof of their vehicles. That snow gets hard quickly, and when it falls off, it can break someone else’s windshield. A great tool to have in your vehicle all winter long is the Snow Joe. It gets the snow off in a jiffy and the non-abrasive foam makes sure you don’t scratch your car’s paint.
As a teenager, I still remember vividly ruining my parents iron when I waxed my snowboard for the first time. My mother yelling from the downstairs, “What the hell?!?” as my father’s shirt got stained with ski wax. You can of course use a normal iron, but like any good craftsmen, using the right tool for the job is a better idea. First off, a waxing iron has a smooth uniform surface which means you won’t lose any wax in those pesky steam holes. Their surface is designed to apply wax smoothly across the base of the skis or snowboard. And I’ve learned through my friend who used to be a ski tech that the more expensive waxing irons like the Toko T8 hold a more consistent temperature creating a better application.
Another item that nears the top of gift ideas for skiers especially gear junkies is the scraper sharpener. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been frustrated with how little wax is coming off the base. It feels less like scraping and more like pushing it off. It was only when my good friend introduced me to the scraper sharpener. Similar to a knife sharpener, this makes sure the wax scraper is sharpened perfectly.
If this list of gift ideas for skiers isn’t enough, consider visiting our skiing & snowboarding gear homepage: Helmets, Mitts, Boots, & Ski Suits – Equipment For Skiing & Snowboarding. We delve into everything from clothing you need to finding the right goggles and even tips on picking the right skis and boots. Of course, you can’t go wrong by getting them a gift card to their favorite store like REI, a website like Backcountry.com or even a local shop.