Yep, you did it again. You waited, as usual, until the ripe final countdown to Christmas to consider what gifts you’ll get those special ski tourers in your life. You haven’t decided whether backcountry dot com is worth your time or cash again. And realistically, it’s unlikely that even the shipping prowess of Amazon Prime will save you now. The clock is ticking, but what to do?
You could: A) wait another 24 hours and then raid the candy aisle of your grocery store, roll the goods up in some crinkled wrapping paper and put a bow on it.
B) scratch an IOU on a piece of scrap paper (preferably red) with a probably false promise like ‘one dog walk’ or ‘post-ski beers’.
C) shuffle to your local gear store (LGS) to buy your special someones those practical miscellaneous (and cheap) items they would probably never buy themselves. Choosing option C gives you the highest likelihood to be invited on more ski tours this season.
Now, of course you could go flash some Benjamins around the LGS (Blizzard Zero G 85s with MTN Explore bindings, please?), but there’s plenty of low-key, low budget options for things that everyone needs. Here are some of our favorite options for last minute ski touring gifts.
Duh. The always most useful thing you have in your ski pack, cup holders, garage bench, ski pant pocket, etc. When do you ever look at a pile of ski straps with anything other than admiration? They are the true all-around tool; I even used one last week to pry open a frozen lock box last week. Not only are they practical, but also available in pretty much every color of the rainbow.
A ski scraper
If you’ve been keeping up with our Tech Tuesday tip series, you’re well atuned (get it?) to the utility of the ski scraper. Keep it in your repair kit. Scrape that icy crud off your skins (or skis) with it. Examine snow crystals on it. Examine your nose hair on it. Whatever. Who ever chances to be the lucky recipient will be thanking you to the heavens when that next FSF starts coming on.
For that extra special ski tourer on your list, give the gift of blister-free touring boot comfort. Dissent makes some of our favorites.
Occasionally, Doug and I mix up our race skis (why we have identical skis with nearly identical bindings is anybody’s guess). You know who was super grumpy the other morning when she put on her skis only to find the bindings way out of adjustment? Me. You know who really wished she had a multitool? Me. We’re big fans of Pocket Pozis around here, maybe someone will read this and slip one in my stocking this Christmas…
A buff (or two)
Have you ever gone to secure your a-framed skis and realized you forgot a ski strap (there it is again) but realized you had a buff instead? Yep, buffs aren’t just for keeping heads/necks/ears warm, or making great headbands, or wrist warmers or whatever else you do with your buff. In fact, the true utilitarian spectrum of the buff is yet to be explored. Give the gift of exploration. Give a buff.
Anything that claims CBD
Ointments, energy bars, oils, drinks, this CBD stuff keeps popping up everywhere, even at my LGS. It’s all the rage. Does it work? Who knows. Do we want to convince ourselves it does anyway? Absolutely.
Gift card to said local gear shop
But really, would it be Christmas if someone didn’t get or give a gift card? Give your ski touring buds one the gift of ‘choice’ while simultaneously removing yourself from the responsibility of forethought. It’s a true win-win.
Here’s to happy, safe, powder snow filled holidays where everyone gets that perfect thing they might not have asked for but will definitely end up needing. Commenters: what are some of your last minute gift go-tos?
Manasseh Franklin is a writer, editor and big fan of walking uphill. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction and environment and natural resources from the University of Wyoming and especially enjoys writing about glaciers. Find her other work in Alpinist, Adventure Journal, Rock and Ice, Aspen Sojourner, AFAR, Trail Runner and Western Confluence.