The 10 Best Gifts for Skiers & Snowboarders - Staff Pick

1. Helmet

The Smith Variant Helmet

Helmets aren't just the coolest accessory to have on the mountain, they make sense for lots of reasons, besides safety.  Helmets are a great way to keep your temperature well-regulated and because they won't fly off in the event of a wipeout, your goggles won't end up full of snow.  Step it up a notch and get a helmet with audio headphones integrated into the earpiece, either by plugging in your mp3 player or streaming the audio wirelessly through a Bluetooth connection.

Check out the Smith Variant Audio Helmet MSRP $170.00 - Lots of ventilation, secure fit, and cool styling.

2. Goggles

Smith I/O Goggles

To go along with a helmet is a good pair of goggles.  Skiing or riding in sunglasses may look cool in the spring time, but they're pretty impractical when its snowing or the light is flat.

A good pair of goggles will have interchangeable lenses too, so you can go adjust according to the day's conditions.  Buy goggles at the same time you buy your helmet, to make sure they fit properly and don't leave a big gap in between the helmet and the top of the goggles.

Cover your eyes with Smith IO goggles to work with your helmet.  MSRP $165.00 - Easy, interchangeable lenses and fighter pilot good looks

3. Neck Gaiter

The Buff®

Scrunching your face into your jacket works well on the chairlift (barely) but just doesn't work when skiing or riding.  When you scrunch your shoulders up and tuck your chin in your jacket, you're affecting your posture enough so that your neck and spine will be out of whack for proper skiing or riding technique.  Besides, being cold just plain sucks! This is why you need a gaiter or a mask to wear under your helmet or around your neck.  Be warned, big fluffy fleece gaiters will make you sweat and fog up your goggles, so buy something lightweight and breathable, like the Buff®.  You won't overheat, and you'll be surprised at how much warmer you'll be, especially on those crisp, cold powder day mornings.

Pick up the Original Buff MSRP $22.00 - $30.00 -  It's super versatile, and long enough to go over your nose and keep your neck warm too.

4. Socks

Let's face it, the wrong socks can quickly turn a good day on the mountain into a bad one.  Spend some dough and get a couple of pairs of sport-specific socks.

Bridgedale Ski Socks

A common misconception is that a thicker sock is going to be warmer.  On the contrary, thicker socks will take up more volume in your boot, preventing adequate blood flow to your little piggies, making your feet achy and cold.  Try a thinner pair of socks, almost dress socks, and marvel at the warmth and precision you get.

Slip on a pair of Bridgedale Ski Socks MSRP $20.00 - Select from a variety of styles and warmth factors. Take care of your feet and they'll take care of you.

5. Base Layers

You've heard it before, but dressing in layers is the best way to stay temperature regulated, which means wear your reindeer sweater grandma knitted for you around the fireplace, not on the mountain.

Ice Breaker Base Layers

There are lots of synthetic materials out there that wick moisture from the body, but none of them work as well as good old-fashioned wool and I'm not talking about the scratchy stuff you wore as a kid.  Merino wool is soft, comfortable, insulates when it's wet and won't leave you stinking after a day of skiing like you just finished a week-long backpacking trip.

Suit up in the morning with the Icebreaker Legless Base Layer.  MSRP $64.95 - Soft merino wool makes a perfect choice for reducing bulk during serious boot wearing activities.

6.  Gloves

Like cold feet, cold hands will make you feel like a 4 year old learning to write cursive when you sign your credit card receipt in the lunch line.  Good gloves should fit comfortably, and not bind when articulating your fingers.

Hestra Heli Ski Glove

Even better, gloves that come up over the cuff of your jacket will keep pesky clumps of snow off of your hands, especially if you regularly find yourself playing in deep snow.  Leather palms are also good for wiping the outside of your goggles in a pinch.  But no matter how good or warm your gloves are, if your body is cold, it will steal blood from your extremities to keep your core warm, so dress warmly to keep your hands warm.  If you've dressed too lightly, keep a pair of hand warmers with you to bust out when you want to stay on the hill rather than sip hot chocolate inside.

Glove up with the  Hestra Heli Ski De Cuir Glove MSRP $135.00 -  A long cuff, leather palm and removable wool liner combine all the necessities for mountain supremacy.

7. 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America

50 Classic Ski Descents of North America

Get your adventure seeker the latest offering from ski mountaineer Chris Davenport, Art Burrows and Penn Newhard and let your buddies drool over 208 pages of gorgeous photos of big lines, steep couloirs and soft snow brought to life by some of skiing's most iconic figures.  More than a coffee table reader, this book will make any skier feel like they're laying down perfect turns on the way back to the kitchen for a 2nd helping of turkey dinner.

Available at Wolverine Publishing MSRP $55.00 - The book is timeless and truly inspirational for any aspiring ski mountaineer

8. Flip Video

Pictures are great, but when it comes to skiing and snowboarding, capturing the sweet spot of a skier mid-turn or at the precise moment of the powder face-shot is best left to a professional photo shoot.  Enter the Flip Video.  Enjoy HD video in a package about the size of your iPhone that is easy to use even with cold fingers.

Flip Ultra HD

It interfaces with a built-in USB plug for any computer and simple, easy-to-use software allows you to edit clips, create movies, lay down audio and best of all, capture an individual frame and save it as a .jpg file to show off to your coworkers or impress the ladies. PRO TIP:  Capturing video while skiing with the camera is a surefire way to induce vomiting, so shoot from a stationary position to capture the footage.

Become the next Greg Stump with the Flip Ultra HD MSRP - $149.95 - $199.95.  Available anywhere electronics are sold.  Relive the glory days for years to come.

9. Hydration Pack

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you're not losing water and beginning to dehydrate.  Add the hot tub you took yesterday and the cocktails you sipped last night with dinner, and the reason your legs feel so heavy in the morning is because you need water.

CamelBak Zoid Hydration Pack

Stay ahead of the game with a hydration pack and enjoy better performance on the mountain all day long.

Winter hydration packs, like those offered from CamelBak, can be slim hydration bladders or full-on day packs that allow you to carry an extra layer, energy bars and even your skis on your back when you decide to go for an extended hike on the resort's hike-to terrain.

Take a drink with Camelbak Winter Hydration Packs MSRP $55.00 - $100.00.  Give your kidneys a break and stay hydrated.

10. Ski/Snowboard Rack

In all sincerity, it's not safe to haul your skis or snowboards inside the car.  Stop short on an icy road! You get the picture.

Yakima Fat Cat 6 Ski & Snowboard Rack

You can throw them in your car and you'll surely ruin the interior of the car either with the metal edges of your boards, or the binding brakes will snag on the upholstery.  Give yourself some peace of mind and save yourself from buying a You-Saw-It-On-TV upholstery repair kit and rack those boards!

Check out a complete selection of Ski & Snowboard Roof Racks and Cargo Boxes at Cracks & Racks!  MSRP $89.00 - $209.00 for Roof Ski Racks

Happy Holidays!!!

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