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 11: Slopestyle
In 1964, United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote in a landmark ruling on obscenity that he didn’t necessarily know how to define pornography, but, “I know it when I see it.” Supreme Court of Style Justice FBD recently somewhat infamously wrote, “Unlike that old dude looking at porn, I DO know how to define style: I just look in the mirror.”
Since sadly, most of you don’t have the wonderful and life-changing opportunity to see me in the mirror each day, I believe I can help you all along by describing how you can each approximate and adapt these daily visions of greatness to your own lives. Ready? Let’s do this.
Under $30: Dead Man’s Reach Coffee, $14.59
One of the secrets to having good style is getting your lazy ass out of bed to actually make it out to ski (I’m looking at you, Rob Magee). We’re all busy, but thankfully God has created this wonderful elixir of life, known as coffee. This magical potion works wonders to right all of the wrongs in the world and a cup of this particular top-secret FBD brew will have you up fixing your doghouse until 2:00 in the morning (true story about FBD’s first cup of coffee).
After that first faithful experience with this miracle compound:
I knew I was on to something. From that day forward, both my life and my training was forever changed — here is actual footage of my current morning routine after just two cups of this coffee. A simple rule I try to live my life by was aptly and succinctly summarized by my 80’s man-crush, Wham front man, George Michael, “If you’re gonna do it, do it right,” (I mean really, does it get any cooler than tambourine gloves? I don’t think so.) So if you’re a coffee drinker, well, hell, do it right, buy the good stuff, and get mother f’n TURNT! Available at Amazon.
$30 – $100: Craft Wool Comfort Zip, $79.99
You should all know by now that looking good is essential, but you’re never going to look good if you’ve shivering like a Florida resident when the mercury hits 68°F. Your mom is not going to show up to the tracks with grilled cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off and a thermos of chicken noodle soup. Grow up. Buy a real baselayer and go attack that cold. This baby is the best of both worlds: a synthetic inner layer for comfort and a wicking, wool outer layer for warmth. If it is good enough for Andy Newell, then it’s good enough for you. Buy one and go work on your backflips. Available at CraftSports.us.
$100 – $250: Patagonia Men’s Reversible Bivy Down Vest, $189
Western gunslinger, riverboat captain, ’80s ski bum: what do all of these colorful characters have in common?
They all rock a vest. So while hopefully you’ll never be in an actual gun fight, pilot a paddlewheel steamboat down the mighty ‘Miss-a-sip,’ or do blow off of a pocket mirror in the gondi, you can exude the best of all of these styles with this warm, chic and bumpin’ apres-ski dealie. Available at Patagonia.com.
FBD Bonus Pick: Baxter State Parka, $249
Speaking of classic styles, this FBD BP is a good one. Last year during one of our puffy coat reviews, the fine folks at L.L. Bean completely disregarded my extremely simple instructions and sent this.
To be fair, they actually did follow the instructions and sent what was requested, they simply added a few other pieces, which in the end turned out to be quite clever, as I’m writing about it now. The point here (and trust me, there is a point) is that this is a very different piece: it’s not for everyone, but for the right person, it is awesome. Our whole test team has grown to love it. As I wrote in the review, this thing folds to the approximate size of my Great Dane, weighs more than me after a plate of nachos and 10 beers, and has an outer layer that feels like it can stop a bullet. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, for after some of these reviews, I now seem to have a lot of enemies. It is currently residing in the closet of Josh Smullin, which is good, for while I may have some enemies, this pales in comparison to the number of people Smullin has alienated over the years. Available at L.L. Bean.
We’ve had a few “twofers” along the way in our magically little journey here together and get ready for another: I suppose I’m a teeny, tiny bit conflicted over this concept, as technically any one of these suggestions could be purchased individually, therein violating the carefully allocated price range guidelines, but being a glass half-full (of bourbon) guy, I look at these scenarios as being very Candide-esque, in that they are the best of all possible worlds. Sure, you can buy any one of these individual gifts, but like pairing a good wine with an excellent meal, finding that perfect hat/buff/glove combo, or exquisitely matching your entire cycling kit, these twofer offerings compliment each other beautifully, therein making the entire ensemble that much more stylish and exquisite.
In this case the twofer in question are glasses. Not just any glasses though, sun glasses. Fun glasses. Kick-ass, you’ve gotta have’em glasses: you know, shades, specs, blinkers, sunnies (for all of my friends down under), nippers, cheaters, or as my Swiss buddies call them, sonnenbrille. For anyone who knows me even a little bit, I’m sure that you’re stunned that it took us to Day 11 before sonnenbrille came up, but hey, it’s because Days 1 – 10 were just that good. This says a lot, too, as FBD loves sunglasses. And the official FBD brand of choice? Oakleys. Sure, there are some other good brands out there, but the FBD is an OG…
… Oakley G from BITD. Plus,if you grew up watching this guy, you pretty much HAD to be a fan of the brand:
So sure, one pair of Oaks is good and it obviously stands to reason that two pairs are twice as nice, but there’s more to it than that — there is an exponential increase in steez with two pairs and here’s why — people wearing sport shades in a leisure setting should immediately be put to death. This is a HUGE FBD pet peeve. Nothing screams maniac like driving to work in sport glasses.Why don’t you just go blow up an orphanage? Show some goddamn self respect and wear sport glasses while training and rep some “lifestyle” shades everyplace else. I don’t care if you’re sporting top of the line model from any brand, if you’re driving around in your sport glasses, you look like that meathead cop that pulls you over in the BluBlockers that he got at the gas station. Don’t be “that guy.”
FYI, the converse is also true — busting out a ski in “fashion glasses,” conjures images of Tyler and Ryder and we all know what happened to them.
Was it the bad shades that led them down to road to dope or the dope that took them down the path of truly tragic eyewear? I suppose it doesn’t really matter, as either way it’s a lose-lose. Or loser-loser. Don’t risk it. Save your babysitting money so you can a good pair of each.
Now that we’re straight on all of that, do yourself right with a pair of each of these dope shades (get it?) Why? Because the 1.0 is for suckers. Are you a sucker? I didn’t think so, so stop asking stupid questions and go get’em. For sport, Oakley Wind Jacket 2.0. Available at Oakley.com.
For street, the Turbine. Look like you’re getting ready to hang with De Niro in Vegas (except for the fact that your wife won’t let you go to Vegas, you would be terrified at all of the germs in that filthy town, and you’re in the middle of an intensity block so there’s no way in hell you’re disrupting your training now, but work with me here people). Available at Oakley.com.
FBD Bonus Pick: Bent shaft poles: Exel X-Curve poles, $299.95
OK everyone, easy out there — get those minds of out the gutter, I’m talking SKI poles here. Since “truthiness” is my speciality, please allow me to clarify that I’ve only had these for a few skis, but these come to me from longtime friend, Birkie winner and trusted advisor, Matt Liebsch, or “Leaper,” as he likes to be called. Leaper explained to me in excruciating detail why these poles are catching on big-time for interestingly enough, biathletes and marathon classic racers (a weird mix, I know). Ole Einar Bjørndalen (the most decorated Winter Olympian and overall most winning biathlete of all time) uses these and since he is the MAN, these bad boys made the cut.
As you all know though, I am exceedingly careful to not recommend products that I haven’t personally tested for months or even years, so this suggestion is coming to you with the caveat that my testing on these has been quite limited. If you want to be the first kid on the block with the latest gadget and you’re serious about pulling the trigger now, my advice is to call Leaper, get the full 411, and proceed accordingly. This way if you love them, I can take all of the credit for making the recommendation, but if you hate them, it’s Matt’s fault for explaining them poorly, not mine. The word on the street is that these are hard to get, so don’t dilly dally or you’ll be left watching longingly as the technology train pulls away from the platform, leaving you standing there with your crappy old poles, like a sucker. Available at PioneerMidwest.com.
Finally, it has come to my attention that some readers are not grasping the importance of yesterday’s public service message and the severity of the problem that this presents when I am driving to and from races, so let me again reiterate: the left lane of an expressway is a passing line, not a driving lane, a PASSING lane. Let’s review: the left lane is a PASSING lane, not a driving line. If you are not actively passing another automobile at a reasonable rate, you should be in the driving lane, not the passing lane, as the left lane is for passing. Driving? No. Passing.
If you’re wondering how the hell we got here, or you just love my beautifully crafted preamble so much that you revisit every day before heading off to face the challenges of the working world, the introduction and backstory can be found here. If unlike most of America, you actually spend you time at work, working, you may have missed some of the previous days and they can be found here: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10