Editor’s note: This year, we opted for a spin on the holiday gift guide. Rest assured, we tasked the right guy — our gear-review guru — with the job of compiling a 12-day list of gift ideas (in various price ranges) for all the nordies in your life.
Day 9: Techy Tech
Tech is to skiing what David Lee Roth is to Van Halen. You can try to remove this part of the equation, but the end-result just isn’t the same (Sammy Hager era, anyone, anyone?) The ultimate checkmate for any technology hater is that regardless of what year and model skis for which they currently launching some unhinged rant — you know exactly about the person and the speech that I’m talking about here — the one that starts, continues and ends with lines like, “This is all you need, all you’ll ever need, I’ve been using these for years and they’re fine….”, the best way to get them off their high horse is to simply point out that at some point, technology made THAT particular pair of skis (or whatever) state of the art. Sure, maybe it was during the Eisenhower administration, but the point is technology drives innovation and vice versa. Do you need new skis every year? If you’re me, yes, but we all know that I’m special. I’ll let each of you out there in the studio audience answer that question for yourself, but the point here is the regardless of your own, personal, technology life cycle, technology is a wonderful part of our sport. Embrace it accordingly, knowing full well that if you’re a fat, lazy, turd, with no style, new skis will just make you a fat, lazy, turd, with no style, on new skis.
Under $30: Dermatone Green Tea Lip Balm, $2.75
At first blush, this may not appear to be that ground-breaking a recommendation, but dry, chapped lips have oft been described as “the worst aliment ever.” I tend to agree. Not only is this the ultimate rap killer (who wants to kiss cracked, pasty, lizard lips?), but it’s just downright unpleasant for all involved. Not to mention, do we even need to go into what can happen when you sunburn your lips?
Do yourself a favor and buy about 10 of these — stick them in your training jacket, your car, your drink belt, everywhere you can think of, as nothing is worse than wanting to apply some nice soothing lip balm and not having one available. Be advised, these are very popular with Great Dane puppies, so please prepare accordingly, though apparently my Great Dane Pwolfgang is in good company:
Usually available at Amazon or even better, come to the West Yellowstone Ski Festival next year and pick up a few of these from our buds at Freeheel and Wheel. This shop does a great job supporting an incredible numbers of skiers in this week, it’s the best coffee in town, and they offer a great assortment of nordic gear for anything you forgot or suddenly decided you need to replace when you wake up to this:
$30 – $100: Toko Arctic Split Mitt, $45
When it’s cold, I mean really, REALLY cold (like it was this morning in West Yellowstone) (see screen capture of today’s weather, above), you don’t just want these gloves, you need these gloves. The split finger design is the best of both worlds: the heat of a mitten and the dexterity (most of it, anyway) of a gloves. A must-have for all skiers. Go for the dope “Winter Warrior” colourway too, because, well, you can. Available at TokoUS.com.
$100 – $250: Salomon Drifter Mid Hoodie, $180
I know, I know, a few different outwear offerings had popped up in our travels here together, but that’s only because jackets are so frickin’ cool (because they keep you hot). Trust me though, there is most definitely a method to my madness, as each and every one of these pieces is specially designed and surgically targeted for highly tactical strikes on the local coffee shop. There, see what I just did? I got myself on a government watch list, just so you could look cool. The things I do for you people… Available at Salomon.com.
Over $250: Pursuit Fork Flex Roller Skis ($249.99) and IDT rollerskis ($386.74)
On Day 6 we very clearly covered why summer training tools are in play in this holiday gift guide, so if you’re arriving late to the party and you’re getting your panties in a wad about this…
… the very cogent and logical line of reasoning supporting this theory can be found here.
Regardless of whether you went back and read my recommendation for summer rollerski boots just now or if you’ve been playing along at home to this game all along, I bet you can see where this is going: if you have sweet, new summer-specific boots, you’re most certainly going to need some new whap sticks, right, as the last thing you want to have happen is you show up looking all funky fresh but then get laughed out of the workout due to your clapped out rollerskis? You know the drill by now, do it right and go for the best. How do I know that these are the best? Because we tested them, silly (classic and skate). All of the top three skis in each review are “da bomb,” but if you’re tight on cash the Pursuits are a great value and the IDTs are just SO silky smooth, you’ll hate yourself forever if you don’t buck up for these. Available at RollerskiShop.com and IDTSports.com.
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Jon "Fast Big Dog" Schafer
Fast Big Dog is a paradoxically gregarious yet reclusive, self-absorbed mystic and world traveler. In addition to his calling to right the wrongs in the ski fashion and gear world, he also brings his style, wit and devilish charm to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club as the Nordic High Performance Director and Worldwide Director of Morale and Awesomeness. Savor these articles while you can, as his Great Dane puppy may burn down his house at any moment, possibly making this his last transmission.