The Avant Ski 2020 Holiday Gift Guide
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Skiing and snowboarding will be some of the best ways to spend time outside this winter, so what could be better than a ski related holiday gift?! The Avant Ski Team has shared our favorite ideas for the skier or rider on your shopping list. We’ve included gifts priced as low as $19.88 along with our favorite ways to get stoked for the season, top picks for essential gear, best ideas to stay warm, and new ways to track your stats, your stuff and your friends.
These items were independently chosen by The Avant Ski Contributors. Avant Ski LLC may earn a commission on purchases through these links.
That's right, a book (of resort trail maps). Amp up the stoke and explore new resorts all year round. The Man Behind The Maps is a collection of work from legendary trail map artist James Niehues featuring more than 200 hand-painted resort trail maps. Published last year, this is the only compilation of all of Niehues’ work. It’s perfect for striking up a conversation, trip planning and discovering new resorts.
A jigsaw puzzle of your favorite ski resort. There’s no better way to become intimately familiar with the trail map while getting excited to make some turns. We’ve been working on this Park City Puzzle for the last few weeks to add to our puzzle collection that, includes Vail, Killington, and Mount Snow.
Hand warmers. With lodges operating at limited capacity, keeping your hands warm will be critical. These are easy to stuff in your pockets and will keep your hands warm for hours at time. Come prepared, because the resorts will certainly charge a premium. Get them here for less!
Leveling Up Your Gear
Lightweight ski socks. We love to start the season with fresh socks. While it may seem counterintuitive, thicker socks restrict mobility, impede your boot fit, and hold moisture that results in cold feet. Good circulation (being able to wiggle your toes!) is the key to keeping your feet warm. We’re big fans of the Smartwool Lightweight Socks, available in both men's and women's sizes.
Booster Strap. Shin bang anyone? If that’s the case, a pair of booster straps can make all the difference. Crank these puppies down to dial in your boot fit and improve your performance. Intermediate and Expert versions are available.
Integrated Helmets & Goggles. Enhance visibility and safety by matching your goggles with your helmet! Smith is the king in both categories, and offers unparalleled protection, field of view and fit. For the ultimate combination of style, fit and function we recommend the Vantage Helmet with either the 4D Mag or I/O Mag Goggles. Each are available in both Men's and Women's sizes.
Tracking Device. The Garmin Forerunner 645 can record all the details of your skiing based on movement and will automatically pause when you’re on a chairlift or take a break. This watch is an easy way to keep track of time on the mountain, distance traveled, maximum speed, average speed, and total vertical descent including a visual record in the form of a map of your day. It also seamlessly sinks with Strava, the leading social network for athletes, so you can share and inspire your friends and followers all winter.
Communication Device (In Resort). How many times have you successfully stayed together with your ski group all day? That's what we thought. A two-way radio is the easiest way to maintain contact with friends and family on the mountain, even without cell reception. Any radio with a full-day battery life should do. We recommend the Motorola T-482 – a reliable, water-proof unit that stands up to use in cold, snowy conditions. Sold in sets of two.
Communication Device (Backcountry). If you're leaving the resort boundary, the Backcountry Access BCA Link 2.0 is the standard in group communications. With an 80-hour battery life and a 40-mile talk range, this radio will ensure that you stay connected with your group when you're in the backcountry.
< Buy Now for $177.53
Down Hoody. The Black Diamond Approach is our go-to down jacket when you need a little extra warmth! This puffy will help get you through those chilly days and you’ll look good doing it. It's an 800-fill down jacket that packs into its own hand pocket. What more could you want? How about an insulated hood, elastic cuffs, and a water resistant finish? Don’t worry, it has all those features as well.
Heated Vest. Going inside is going to be more restricted this season. The Ororo Heated Vest will not only keep you warm, but it’s also light-weight, good for layering, and of course, you can turn the heat on and off. Available in Women's or Men's sizes.
Flylow ‘Tough Guy’ Gloves. There's nothing worse than freezing fingers. At $40, you won't find better value for such an essential piece of equipment. The Tough Guy Glove is made with hand-treated, triple-baked pig skin and is both warm and incredibly dexterous. We've never had a bad day wearing these, even when it’s below 0º and the wind is blowing 20 mph.
Blackstrap Expedition Hood Balaclava. Face coverings are essential this year, and this one takes the cake. The Expedition Hood Balaclava fits well, stays in place, and never freezes. Moisture wicking, antimicrobial, and rated to UPF 50+, this is the ultimate in face protection. One size fits all adults. Also available in a kid's size!
Added comfort and flexibility (especially during Covid)
Backpacks are going to be essential on the slopes this season. With lodges operating at reduced capacity, it will be critical to keep snacks/food and extra layers handy. Bonus points if the pack is capable of carrying a board or skis. We like the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Pack. This do-it-all backpack is built for the slopes whether you are going on an all day tour or shredding in-bounds at the resort. Made for skiers and snowboarders alike, this pack has a spot for your camelback, ice axe and everything in between.
Heated ski/Snowboard Boot Bag. The KULKEA Thermal Trekker is a game changer. Plug the bag in when you go to bed and wake up to toasty gear. With custom boot compartments, your gear will stay organized, dry, and be easy to transport. Putting on warm boots that feel like they came out of the dryer is the way to go (especially if booting up in the parking lot is part of the new normal).
Considering the Backcountry
Guided Day of Skiing/Riding. Looking to get into the backcountry this season? For your first time it's a great idea to hire a guide to show you the ropes (and find the best snow!). The American Mountain Guides Association has an extensive list of certified guides and you can find a guide that meets your needs here.
Ortovox Zoom+ Avalanche Rescue Package. If you're considering heading into the backcountry, you need to be equipped with the proper safety tools. This package includes the Ortovox Zoom+ Beacon, Badger Shovel, and 40m Probe. This is a very useful package for those that are new to the backcountry and need basic functionality.
Demoing Skis or Snowboards
Even in 2020, experiences can be better than "stuff." For something useful and fun, consider a gift certificate to demo skis or snowboards from a shop at the base of the mountain. The recipient will be able to try multiple skis in a day, optimize for current conditions and even allocate their demo costs to the purchase of a new pair. Want to learn more about demoing skis? Our guide has step-by-step considerations and ski recommendations, view it here.
All prices quoted were checked shortly before publication, but prices are subject to change and may not match what is found online. Readers should also make sure to check in-stock and delivery status.
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