Mother and Father want to get into ski touring. Not the agro, line-bagging, freeride touring that is exploding here in the states, but the more traditional walk-up-and-enjoy-low-angle-swish-turns touring. Many new tech bindings are built to support powerful skiers on steep, exposed terrain. My parents don’t need that muscle. The Dynafit Radical Speed shares the same platform of Dynafit’s impressive new freeride touring Radical FT but is toned back with a lower release value rating, and less bells and whistles. Plus, I’ll save $200 by going with the less aggressive set up. The Speed Radical is one of the most affordable tech bindings out there with all the performance most of us will ever need.-Kevin Luby, Assistant Editor [$399; dynafit.com]
My roommate hates on helmets, but he skis like a chimpanzee on speed. I think it’s a self-conscious image thing. A helmet protects your noggin first and foremost. After that, it’s all style. I think he’d like the simple, matte-black look of the Bern Carbon Watts. The brim gives it a little steeze and the carbon construction makes it extra lightweight, which I would appreciate if it were strapped to my pack on the skin track. The Watts also meets all of the ASTM helmet standards for snow sports.-K.L
My sister is a ski bum in Ketchum, Idaho, and it gets bloody cold there at night so she needs a super warm hoodie that has a little more technology than cotton. Kühl’s Sovana Hoodie will keep her toasty with a soft fleece against her skin and a classy, wool-like fleece knit exterior. It will also stay breathable for when she’s cutting a rug to live music at Whiskey Jacques. (We share the same dance gene, nothing pretty, just a lot of flailing.) Most importantly, it looks nice, and I like to make sure my sister looks nice, I’m the goober of the family.-K.L/ [$75;kuhl.com]
One of my buddies loves to get on the slopes but doesn’t have the means to get up to the mountains as much as he would like or buy the best gear. His bargain bin goggles are probably the best example. Sure, they work, but they put a very uncomfortable orangish-brown spin on an otherwise colorful world. To remedy the situation, I’m getting him a fresh pair of Smith I/O goggles. They come with two high quality spherical lenses— a light one for overcast, a dark one for sunny days. The lenses can be switched easily thanks to Smith’s tricky quick release lens system. Plus, the goggles fit well with a helmet and are about as stylish as goggles can get. -K.L. [$165;smithoptics.com]
My cousin was born and raised in the mountain and he’s a ripping skier. However he now owns a serve-yourself yogurt shop in Tempe, Arizona, because if there is one thing he likes better than mountains it’s being an entrepreneur. (He has the best damn yogurt in Arizona. Check it out at http://alohayogurt.com). I should get him a vacation and a plane ticket home for Christmas but the logistics are a little complex. The next best thing is a Monarch Mountain Season Pass. This local Colorado hill has one of the best pass deals on the planet: unlimited skiing at the mountain—an excuse to come up to Colorado to ski with me—and ticket reciprocity and deals at 27 resorts around the world—including the closest snow to Tempe, Arizona Snowbowl. Monarch offers all of this for the low, low price of $439-K.L.
If you’ve followed Skiing’s Beer of the Week blog <link> it’s no secret that I like beer—perhaps excessively. A friend of mine at the Brewer’s Association turned me on to this fine piece of literature about tasting beer and I haven’t been able to put it down. From the history of beer to the finer points of beer and food pairing, Mosher’s book covers it all while staying entertaining and without geeking out too much on the chemical specifics. This is the perfect gift for anyone with an inquisitive mind that regularly enjoys tasty malt beverages. If I didn’t already have it, I’d want it.-K.L.
from $10; alibris.com