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 6: SkiStyle
Ah, week two, so what’s new? I think we can all agree that sadly, there is a tremendous shortage of kindness and decency in this world. We all need to do our part to help remedy this, and I know at times it feels like there’s only so much you can do, which is a problem. But you know what is also a problem? A tragically under-reported, oft-misdiagnosed problem? Perhaps even a more serious problem? The complete lack of style that we have assaulting our retinas each day out there on the tracks. Yeah, it’s not cool when someone is rude or disrespectful in line at the bank, but showing up to ski in some junk-show, mismatched outfit is a direct assault on everything we value as a people. You can ignore that jerk at the bank, but you can’t “un-see” fashion crimes. By all means we should all try to be more understanding and compassionate to our fellow man, but for heaven’s sake, show up for your next ski with some style and self-respect.
Under $30: Smartwool neck gaiter, $28
Nothing says steazy like being warm and comfortable and nothing keeps you more warm and comfortable than a good buff. The fact that it’s warm and stylish is a winning combination, fo sho. If you’ve been paying attention even a little bit, you know by now that FBD loves wool, so a wool buff? POW. Make it hap’n, capt’n Available at Smartwool.com.
$30 – $100: Kick wax utility kit, $59.99
You know what else looks steazy? Kicking and gliding up a hill like a pro. That all starts with good technique, but is followed closely by good wax. If you haven’t already, go watch Zach Caldwell’s video beatdown of Tad Elliott for his waxing misdeeds, not only because both of those guys are hilarious, but also because you just may learn something. One you’ve got yourself all learned up, go put those newfound skills to use for realz. Consider this a ‘starter kit’ or even better, a ‘utility kit’ that will get you through most conditions: think of this as Batman’s utility belt inside of your drink belt. If you’re new to the Black Magic of kick waxing or a wise old dog that likes to keep it simple, this kit will have you covered (sorry). Check back for availability at Gear West.
$100 – $250: Arc’teryx Covert Hoody, $199
Okay, there’s steazy and then there’s STEAZY (and then there’s also Capital Steez, but that’s another story all together). If you think you have the mettle to do some “FBD next level” stuff, ya gotta look the part and this kick-ass hoodie from our brothers up north is a good start. Watch any good ski race, from JNs up to the World Cup level, and you’ll notice that as soon as racers finish, they immediately change into dry clothes. You should do the same, yes, even on training days or Josh Smullin will come to your house in this outfit and yell at you. Nothing is better after a long, cold ski than slipping into this top. Available at arcteryx.com.
FBD bonus pick: Patagonia Insulated Fjord Flannel Jacket, $169
Alternatively, maybe nothing is better after a long, cold ski than slipping into this top. Just don’t be an animal (an animal that’s going to get sick and get us all sick) and ignore this good advice. Slip into something dry. Anything. If you garment of choice is still that hoody from junior high gym class, well, maybe that explains why you’re driving home alone or your kids don’t want to go into the store with you. Solve all of these problems in one fell swoop. Available at Patagonia.com.
Over $250: Alpina ESK 2.0 summer rollerski boots, $429
Yeah, yeah, it’s winter and you should be skiing on snow, but if your travel schedule is anything like mine, you often find yourself in places where pow is only a pipe dream. Add this to the very depressing reality that climate change is having a major impact on snowpacks all over the planet and the even more depressing reality that our president-elect thinks this is all a part of an elaborate hoax being perpetrated by the Chinese. This means that you are likely going to be rolling on whap sticks more and more each year until we make some serious headway. The first step is to clearly acknowledge that there is problem, then figure out practical ways to save the planet (and our winters). All of this is going to take time though and you’re not really going to give up an interval sesh due to a lack of snow, are you? I didn’t think so. Buck up for the best summer boot out there and keep those tootsies cool and fresh. Search retailers via Alpinasportsus.com.
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