Gift guide number two: Hopefully, these guides prompt us all to think of others and what they might like to receive as a gift. Also, it’s OK by us to show some self-gratitude and buy something for yourself. We have included binding replacement heel or toe units.
For this gift guide, we’re dialing it up a wee bit; not breaking the bank, but for those in the States, the upper limit is two Benjamins, or $200. Or 2 x a Borden in Canada. Do you folks call it a Borden? Either way, the back of the note celebrates the discovery of Insulin, which by itself is a very cool thing to honor.
Two hundred dollars can go pretty far. Although we won’t spill on all the details, depending on the model, you can secure yourself or a loved one a replacement binding heel or toe unit if the binding goods are damaged. For example, an ATK Haute Route 10 heel piece will run about $135, and a Dynafit Superlite 150 toe unit will cost roughly $170; both are still under budget here, which leaves $30 for new leashes.
Replacement Binding Toe or Heel Unit: Ranging from ~$80-170+ depending on the model.
Several WildSnow authors love a good ski pack. But the fidelity to such goods wavers in the off-season (the absence of snow helps) for well-designed running vests. With a cheesy nod to almost every TED Talk, “imagine a world where…” a ski pack and running vest were one? “That reality is now,” sort of.
The Black Diamond Cirque 22 Vest, which we reviewed here, is a great hybrid piece that brings both worlds together; this is a vest-pack – there’s no waistbelt – but it feels 100% like a dedicated ski pack. There’s excellent back support, a ski-mo type quick access diagonal carry, a grab-n-go skin stash pocket accessible without removing the ski vest, and nutrition/hydration pockets on the vest-style shoulder straps. The innards include a small safety gear sleeve and a zippered pouch for small essentials. The Cirque 22 Vest is beefy enough to carry wider skis comfortably; it’s not made only for wafer-light 65mm underfoot race skis. It also has an external (and removable) helmet carry. For more deets, read the review, but we love this hybrid-style pack.
BD Cirque 22 Vest: $179.95
Long ago, on a slog far, far away, someone stated, “show me the light!” Whether deliverance came and the light was, in fact, shown, is debatable. But what is hardened truth is the plethora of headlamp options out there. You can go super light, super hefty, or find some middle ground in head torches.
We’ve settled on the Petzl Swift RL Headlamp — more middle ground. The Swift RL takes a rechargeable battery (included) and recharges via a micro-USB; an extra battery will set you back roughly $65.00. As far as showing you the light, there are several settings with a range of 900 lumens as the maximum, a mid-level of 300, and 100 as the minimum. This headlamp includes Petzl’s REACTIVE technology, which automatically dims or brightens the light intensity. It comes in handy in snowy environments. (REACTIVE mode can be turned on and off.) The head strap is styled to sit securely on the noggin’ or a climbing helmet. The unit weighs ~100g.
Petzl Swift RL Headlamp: $124.95
Let’s talk about talking and communicating in the backcountry. Sure, we practice a “silent sport,” but best practices involve talking things out. Let’s just say that radio comms come in handy in many scenarios. Intra and inter-group communication can up the safety calculus. You’ve got several hand-held options out there. The BCA BC-Link Two Way Radio 2.0 and the Rocky Talkie are two reliable units. For those looking for a hand-held mic separate from the main radio body, the BCA BC-Link has that feature. The Rocky Talkie is a one-piece unit with a durable rubberized case.
Rockie Talkie: $110.00
BCA BC-Link Two Way Radio 2.0: $189.95
Rules, ask any parent of a teen, are meant to be broken. We’re breaking the $200 limit here for a good cause: better boot fit. Go-getters know that a stock ski boot liner will pack out, lose its mojo, and underperform after a season of heavy use. A new aftermarket liner can rejuvenate a lackluster boot. In this case, we are thinking of boots needing a burly liner; enter the Intuition Pro Tour.
As always, WildSnow recommends consulting with the loved one when purchasing something as personal as a boot liner.
Intuition has some secret sauce for their heat-moldable closed EVA foam, which may be urban myth, but we know their liners are time-tested and well-loved. For around $210 (sorry to break the rules), you could put a stop to hearing your loved one complain about their meh boots. As always, WildSnow recommends consulting with the loved one when purchasing something as personal as a boot liner.
Intuition Pro Tour Liner: ~ $210.00
One piece to rule them all comes to mind when thinking about this next goody. Patagonia’s Airshed Pro Pullover is an enigma. Designed for trail/mountain running, the Airshed Pro’s body and back are fast drying and breathable. We’d call it breathable enough for high-output activities. And yes, it is quick drying. The sleeve’s lower half is a stretchy fabric that is easy to pull up towards the forearm if the temps warm (or you are simply busting out some vert). The hood is made from the same stretchy fabric. An ample double zipper extends from chin to mid-chest to sufficiently dump heat or let the breeze in.
The Airshed Pro comes in both a men’s and women’s model. Patagonia calls it a windshirt. To be clear, this is not your old-school 100% nylon windshirt. The Airshed Pro works great next-to-skin or over a thin layer. Mid-winter, especially in spring, the Airshed Pro might become a staple of the backcountry skiing/riding wardrobe.
Patagonia Airshed Pro: $139.00
While most of the WildSnow backcountry skiing blog posts are best attributed to a single author, some work well as done by the group.
Seconding the recommendation for the airshed pro. It has become my go to baselayer (typically with a very thin, skin fitting, grid wicking short sleeve layer underneath) for any and all aerobic activities from ~60 degrees and below. So versatile!