2020 Holiday Gift Guide: The Snow Sports Edition

Somewhere north of here and/or left of the Mississippi the stoke level is high. My insta feed is pristine white opening day after opening day at all the large ski areas, and here in CT we’ve gotten one ‘storm’ that’s left behind slush at best. I was asked to do a snowy gift guide given that I generally partake in a good amount of slip and slidey fun each year, so while not as comprehensive as my rundown for runners (no pun intended) – here are a few ideas of what you may want to ask for or snag for your favorite weirdo who loves the cold.

Pictured: Oakley Flight Deck Goggle, Savior Heated Gloves, Burton Gloria Pant & Toaster Liner, TNF Triclimate… etc etc etc

I’m going to leave skis, boards, boots and bindings out of this because everyone is different. There are several professionals out there who know a TON about what’s right for each person, and I am not one of them.

My favorite site for all things snow: Evo.com

(SNOW) SUIT UP!


Snow days are no fun days if you’re not suited up properly. The name of the game is feeling like you’re in a sleeping bag and impenetrably protected from the annoying freeze breeze on the lift, but magically free as a bird the second you get to the top and are ready to ride.

If you’re short on time, tap on any image in the carousel to shop. Otherwise, expand to view the entire list below!

Snowy Recommendations: View Details

OUTER LAYERS

  • Lululemon Down For it All Jacket ($198) – Down insulation for chilly lift rides, breathable sides for when top to bottom runs get you working up a sweat. Also ideal for endurance activities like cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Lightweight enough to wear under a shell in case the snow is wet. Worth nothing that the 2020-21 version has a removable hood. 
  • The North Face Osito Triclimate Jacket ($260) – Triclimates are a no-brainer and pretty common. What makes this one special is HOW COZY THE FLEECE LAYER IS. Imagine wearing a lulu Scuba Plush hoodie that’s just as cozy but stands up to a snowstorm like it’s NBD. Also, flap pockets on the front mean gravity helps keep your stuff in.
  • Burton Gloria Pant ($99.99 – Past Season) – Specifically made for snowboarders. Yes flare jeans may not be cool anymore, but the flared leg accommodates big old snowboard bindings. For YEARS I’ve exclusively worn North Face snow pants, but last season I decided that it was okay to want to stay protected from the snow AND look cute too. Bonus points for having zippable cargo pockets on the side. Heads up that their rise is a little lower than some of the more traditional snow brands. 
  • The North Face Sally Pant ($98.95) – These are good all weather pants. Insulation is there, but it’s not too heavy. I’ve been wearing a red pair for years that have endured many a wipeout, and they’re still going strong. Pocket situation: two zip pockets in the usual spot. Straight leg fit without being too baggy.
  • The North Face Freedom Insulated Pant ($160) – The Freedom is a heavier-duty fabric than the Sally. That kind of heavy fabric that makes you all loud when you swish swish walk through the lodge. You know what I mean. Wipe out in these and nobody will even be able to tell that you used your pants as a temporary toboggan. They’re tough, in a good way. Cargo pocket included on the side for quick access to your phone because selfies.

BASE LAYERS

With all that warmth trapped in, you will inevitably sweat a little bit. The key to not turning into an ice pop is to have quick-drying base layers. For me, it’s a lululemon Swiftly all day errday with a little bit of Sweaty Betty mixed in.

STAY AWAY FROM…

  • I have wanted to love The North Face’s Snoga Pant (it’s exactly the hybrid you think it is) for years. I found a pair in Aspen last year and struggled to even fit into the 12, and I’m a 10 according to their size chart. I know I had a massive dinner right before, but… from the reviews it looks as though my fitting room experience is the norm. Do NOT buy these pants without trying them on first or making sure wherever you got them from has a solid return policy. I so badly want to love them, you’re going to need 1-2 sizes larger. Gifts that don’t fit are no fun.

TECH


Kyle’s and my relationship started on the mountain (literally), and it quickly became evident 1) there are two types of people on the mountain and 2) he was going to be a keeper. Each day we rode together went something like this:

*lift gets to the unloading station*

Kyle: Skis on, stands up, glides out of the way, ready to go

Katy: Tries not to fall over because only one foot is in her snowboard, scoots to a nearby bench, manually cranks bindings shut on second foot, makes sure boot liners and heated gloves are powered on, adjusts monopod for camera, makes sure camera is on and in the correct mode, wrestles gloves over wrist guards, flips over like a fish to stand up toe side, ready to go, just kidding gotta start my Garmin… ok ready to go for real

If you’re the latter (like me) – here are my favorite things that need a full charge before hitting the slopes.

Tech: View Details

GADGETS & TECH

  • GoPro Hero9 ($399) – If you didn’t record hours of snoozer footage in order to get that one “epic” look, did you even spend a day riding?
  • GoPro MAX ($449) – I jumped so fast at the 360 video idea that I ended up getting a Rylo, which entered the ring before GoPro did. But, Rylo sold off to VSCO about a year ago and the hardware is no longer supported. Regardless, I love having a camera that shoots in all directions. For cautious intermediates like me, it means that you can focus on your riding without being distracted by if you’re in the shot of your SUPER AWESOME FOOTY!!! …or not.

I’m so lucky that I have Reynaud’s. I really love when my extremities freak out and lose circulation when it’s 60 degrees out. Obviously not ideal for snow sports, so these next few items are CLUTCH to maintain basic functioning while out on the hill.

  • Burton Toaster Snowboard Boot Liner ($219.95) – Yeah I charge my boots with a USB cable and I have no shame about it. These are liners, so you don’t need to get a whole new pair of boots. They have small batteries that tuck into the outer front of the calf, which can be removed before air travel. The Toaster has 3 settings: I’ve found I can get an entire day out of low (green), 4ish hours out of medium (yellow), and less out of red. Because they WORK, I generally keep mine on the lowest setting to prevent sweaty toes. These heated boot liners alone have helped me so that I can now take more than 2 runs before I need to come inside and thaw. While the price tag seems high, for someone afflicted with Reynaud’s to be able to keep up with their warm-blooded friends, they are 100% worth the investment. 
  • Savior Heated Gloves ($95.19) – Hot damn (no pun intended), the prices on heated gloves run high. Seirus’ Hellfire line runs almost $400, and the lowest-priced models on Amazon were in the $50 range. Not wanting my hands to explode with cheap electronics. I opted to pick up a pair of these before my 2019 season began. So far they’ve lasted two full winters and I couldn’t be happier with them. Being able to feel your fingers and toes is the best. 
  • Zippo Heatbank Rechargeable Hand Warmers ($39.95) – Instagram ads you know me so well. In case you need a quick warmup to pass around, Zippo doesn’t just make lighters. Perfect to stash in your bag in case you end up anywhere frigid, and RUH ROH stuck without your super heavy ski gear.

 

ACCESSORIES


But wait there’s more! But none of this batch of gear requires a charging cable.

Accessories: View Details
  • Smartwool PhD Ski Socks ($24.95) – Smartwool socks are the best socks and I cannot be convinced otherwise.
  • Blackstrap Balaclava ($31.99) – Double layered, covers your entire head. If that’s not COVID friendly I’m not sure what is. I’ve been wearing these since long before face coverings were required.
  • Smith Skyline Goggles ($93.99) – Linking last season’s colors because mirrored lenses do not go out of style, nor does saving a few doll hairs.
  • Oakley Flight Deck Goggles ($130) – Last season same reason
  • Burton Impact Wrist Guards ($24.95) – All snowboarders need wrist guards. Period.
  • Oakley Factory Suspenders ($30) – For when you’re in between sizes and are sick of hiking your snow pants up.
  • Arcade Ranger Belt ($29.95) – One day, I got sick of saggy pants and walked into the pro shop AT THE BASE OF THE MOUNTAIN. Did not care about price tag, I was desperate. The day I bought this belt was the day my snow life changed. Pants that stay put are the best pants.

 

What Do You Think?