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Gift ideas for the not-so-dirtbag skier

November 1, 2017

Found in Gear

Living to ski as much as possible is no easy task; it takes considerable commitment and planning. It’s all about being prepared, from being ready with gear to outlast storms or explore new areas, to being dialled for après with a pocket flask and shades.

The gear on this list is for any serious skier who wants to feel confident in their equipment and maximize fun times on skis:

MEC Ambassador Reuben Krabbe

1. sweet skis

G3 Sendr Skis

If the name of this ski doesn’t get you stoked, there’s likely nothing that will. G3’s SEEKr is crazy light, nice and stiff. The shovel nose keeps you floating in powder, and the ski acts similar to a rocker ski when flexed in the snowpack. Backcountry here we come.

2. Booster straps

Booster ski straps

It’s difficult to convey how superior Tools4boards booster straps are than conventional Velcro ones. Skiers who like to charge hard can get painful shins from tight straps. Before I used booster straps, I’d take ibuprofen on the hill to get through the pain. Now I can tighten my straps more, but without the pain.

3. Well-fitting backpack

MEC Alpinelite Tour 45 backpack

One of the most essential pieces for a successful ski day is a well-fitting pack. The AlpineLite Tour 45 Backpack has all the room for backcountry gear, and is well-thought-out with features like a ski-carry system.

4. Tried-and-true backcountry shell

MEC Synergy Jacket

I’ve been using the Synergy jacket for years, and with each year, there are little improvements to keep this GORE-TEX jacket at the top of the game.

5. GoPro Hero5

GoPro Hero5

Make the memories of a single ski day last all winter. The GoPro Hero5 Black has all the quality and features any person could ever want, but in a tiny sleek package that draws less attention.

6. Awesome ski socks

Dissent ski socks

I’ve been skiing Dissent Labs socks for the past five seasons, and GFX Compression Wool Socks are my go-to. They’re highly breathable and comfortable for long days in your boots. Merino wool gives them anti-microbial qualities, which is a lot of syllables to simply say “they won’t stink.”

7. The perfect layer

MEC Light Obsession Hoodie

Christmas came early last year when MEC sent me a prototype of the Northern Light Hoodie. It instantly got bumped up to the top of my Favourite MEC Softgoods List. It’s like you’re wrapped in 50,000-count bedsheets, while staying warm. It packs up really well and layers perfectly.

7. High-traction skins

G3 Alpinist Skins

You gotta get up to get down! G3 Alpinist skins will get you there.

9. New shovel

G3 Avitech Shovel

Everybody loves a new shovel. The D-grip handle on this Backcountry Access Dozer 3D Shovel makes digging easy, and it has an ice axe loop attachment point, which meshes well with the MEC Alpinelite Tour Backpack.

10. Transceiver

I’ve been using the Ortovox Diract Voice Transceiver for the past few winters, and its easy-to-use and understand interface has helped keep me and my buddies safe.

11. Leak-proof flask

Stanley stainless steel flask


12. Classic glasses

Oakley Frogskins sunglasses

Willson Sunglasses are the choice eyewear for aprés celebrations.

13. Serious base layers

MEC T3 base layer bottoms

T3 Long Johns are my favourites when I ski in colder regions, like the Rockies. These ones are lightweight, warm and super functional for high-output skiing.

14. Ski boots

Happy feet make for a great day on the slopes. I’ve been skiing in the previous generation of the La Sportiva Vega Ski Boots, and can easily say it performed better than I could have hoped for. It fits into tech bindings and some Salomon resort bindings. Prior to this year, there were boots we called “one size fits all,” but now there finally are!

15. Great headlamp

From first chair to last call, it seems my commutes are always in the dark. The Tikka Headlamp solves that problem.

16. Dawn patrol sleeping bag

MEC Talon 3 sleeping bag

The MEC Talon -5 is my goldilocks. It strikes the balance of being light enough, yet warm enough, for all but my coldest winter camping nights. I’ll use it on a hut trip, camping at high altitudes or in fall weather.

17. Crisp vision

You can never put too much emphasis on vision while out in the snow. On bright days, you could sunburn your eyes; on flat light days, the right lens choice could mean the difference between accidentally skiing in the wrong place or having a safe fun run. The Smith lineup offers a diverse set of lenses for any given day, including the Skyline Goggles. Oh, and they look pretty slick too.

18. Compact stove

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Stove

The MSR PocketRocket 2 folds up to into its own little carry case, and can turn lunch from a shivering huddle to a full-on feast. The built-in windshield system protects the burner from being blown out by wind gusts, and the burner control can be tuned even when you’re wearing gloves.

19. Hot fuel

Pair this 1L vacuum bottle with the Aeropress, and the athletes you’re working with will be stoked on a hot drink as you wait for the light to be just right for photos.

20. Snacks

At home, I’m the guy with the spoon in the peanut butter jar, but on the hill it’s a little simpler in peanut butter bar form.

Bring on the snow!

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