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 cousin just passed up a job as an editor at a snowboard magazine to be a liftie in Utah. I kind of want to kick his ass, but I’ll take the high road and make sure he looks fresh bumping chairs in these shades. They’ve got 100% UV protection and lots of coverage for his precious young eyes.-Sam Bass, Editor [$110; dragonalliance.com]
It’s every skier’s fantasy to create their very own custom ski. Don’t just dream, do it with Wagner Custom skis, an independent ski manufacturer based out of Telluride, Colorado. From top sheet to core composition, your favorite skier can customize every last detail of their ideal ski. This makes a great gift for a romantic partner you’re courting, a boss, your college-aged son with pro-skier aspirations. Actually, a pair of Wagner Custom skis is a great gift for any skier, really.-Kelley McMillan, Associate Editor
Prices vary; http://www.wagnerskis.com/
For an old dude, my father is a highly impressive combo of accident prone and reckless. Last winter, he came out to ski with me and ended up splintering his collarbone on a tree at A-Basin. Big ups to the surgeons at the Summit Medical Center for putting it back together. So this winter, before he can damage himself further, he gets a helmet. This one from POC is super light, but still hits all the ASTM standards.-Heather Hansman, Online editor
I want this one for myself. It’s a superlight down pullover that packs within its own pocket to the size of a water bottle. Perfect for busting out at the top of a skin track or simply wearing as an inbounds layering piece during the dead of winter.-S.B.
My best friend is a backcountry guide who lives in Seattle. She’s pretty styled out in the gear department, but I think this down shirt from the PNW’s own Eddie Bauer is right up her alley. Plus, it’s designed by a team of guides, including certified badass Melissa Arnot, so it’s not just a fluff piece.-H.H.
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]
Gerber’s Multi-Fit tool is the perfect gift for the skier who hits the frontside and the backcountry. Featuring screwdrivers, a knife, and a flashlight (among many other accessories), serve up sliced cheese on crackers, tweak bindings, and trim skins with the Fit. Or, if you’ve made a wrong turn in the backcountry, find your way home with its handy LED flashlight. Best of all, the Fit features a bottle opener so you can pop a a cold one (or two) at the end of the day.-K.M. $41; http://www.gerbergear.com
My youngest sister married a great guy who’s in grad school in Lincoln, Nebraska. She loves him, so she went with him, but she’s not that into Nebraska. If I had enough money, I’d get them a gift certificate for catskiing in Colorado’s lovely San Juans. That way, they could drive from Lincoln to Boulder, visit me, and then make the long-but-awesome drive to southwest Colorado. I skied with San Juan Ski Company a few years back and had a blast so I know she’d love it. With a gift certificate, she can watch the weather and pick her own date, and it’s $25 less than it would cost if she booked her own seat.-S.B. [sanjuanski.com]
My younger brother and his fixed-gear bicycle recently moved to Harlem where he’s been perfecting his rolled-skinny-jeans-to-boat-shoes ratio and unearthing obscure Bon Iver remixes. He would probably grow a moustache if he could, but he can’t. Underneath his trappings of hipsterdom, though, he’s basically incapable of buying himself clothes. So I’m getting him this Reversible Flannel Jacket which is cool looking enough for New York (I guess. I live in Boulder, so I wouldn’t really know.) but won’t be out of place when he heads up to Jay either.-H.H.
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
I want to get this for my dad, but it’s cool enough that I’d quickly steal it back from him if I don’t see him wearing it enough. I like its basic design, and that it doesn’t pretend to be anything but a reliable, comfortable softshell jacket. Wear it over a baselayer for ascending or layer underneath for general use. The helmet-compatible hood and fleecy lining are nice storm-day features. And it’s decidedly non-techie looking, so you won’t feel like a pretentious dweeb wearing it out on the town.-S.B.
The Suunto Core watch is an all-in-one outdoor sports tool. Featuring an altimeter, barometer, storm alarm and more, techno-dorks and gadget-inclined skiers will dig the Core because it gathers a range of data and information, helping skiers make accurate game-day decisions. Will I make it up and down the peak before the storm rolls in? How many vertical feet dig I log today? The Core will help fast-and-light uncle Johnny assess all of that and more.-K.M. 300; www.suunto.com
I’m lucky gear-wise, my kit is pretty well dialed. What I really want for Christmas is plane tickets. One to Tokyo, one to Vancouver, and one straight into Chamonix. Great, thanks. I also wouldn’t mind a copy of All.I.Can, my favorite ski movie of the year, to watch in flight.The segment below should explain why.-H.H.
One of my sisters loves beer, but hates drinking from cans and bottles. She likes the touch of class that a pint glass brings to swilling her favorite brews, but glass doesn’t work well for tailgating. So I’m going to get her this flexible, food-grade silicon pint glass. She can toss it in her ski bag or jacket pocket and be ready to tailgate in style. And if she gets tipsy and drops the Silipint onto the parking lot, it won’t shatter.-S.B.
Visit www.silipint.com for pricing
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]
This might be the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever admitted to the internet, but my mother wears leather ski pants. For reals. From far away they’re not so bad, but when you get within fifty feet their sheen is unmistakable. They’re legit [redacted brand] ski pants, but they’re mortifying to be around. I feel like a petulant teenager when I ski with her, all “Moooommm, why are you so embarasssssingggg.” To hopefully persuade her to ditch them (so I can burn them) I’m getting her this North Face pair. Warm, waterproof, and NOT MADE OF SHINY DEAD ANIMAL SKIN.-H.H.
My mom’s a serious homebody. She never leaves the East Coast to come visit me in colorful Colorado. She also loves to be comfy while she plays with powertools in her sculpture studio. To celebrate her love of the East and keep her cozy during the long Maine winter, I’m thinking of getting her this dope-ass Ski the East hoodie.-S.B.
High-performance ski boots that are comfortable? Yep. What used to be a contradiction of terms is now a reality with Fischer’s Soma boot. Featuring Fisher’s signature Vacuum Fit technology, heat molds the boots’ outer plastic shell to fit feet and lower leg angles perfectly. So, when Mom complains about ill-fitting boots or Dad gripes about soft boots that don’t drive hard enough, silence them with a pair of Fischer Soma ski boots.-K.M. http://www.fischersports.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.
My sister has hands that just won’t stay warm. We’ll have just arrived in the back bowls of Vail and she’s already whining that her hands are cold. So, this year I’m going to get her a pair of Black Diamond’s Cayenne gloves. With a battery-operated heating system that pumps heat throughout the glove, this is the ultimate accessory for bitter-cold days or for skiers who suffer from perma-frost hands.-K.M. $380; http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com
You might have noticed that the people I work with around here have an affinity for alcohol. Actually affinity might be an understatement. In some corners it’s not uncommon to see beers cracked at noon on a Friday. So to make sure no one has flat beer at their desk, they all get these Stanley carbonated drink bottles.-H.H.
Even after 20 years on the scene, Seth Morrison is still the king of big-mountain ripping. Though his skiing is outsized, little is really known about Morrison, whose personality is more quiet and humble than his skiing might lead people to believe. The Ordinary Skier shines a light on Morrison’s personal life, giving viewers insight on what makes this skier tick, go big, and hold steady as one of the most legendary skiers of all time. Younger skiers will dig the big mountain shred fest and appearances from JP Auclair and Kye Peterson. Older skiers will appreciate a ski flick that delves deeper and offers a more developed story line than your typical ski porn. It’s a great stocking stuffer for any skier and available on iTunes too. http://www.oakley.com/sports/seth-morrision-the-ordinary-skier
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