Skiing and snowboarding have high barriers to entry thanks largely to the vast array of gear required just to get started. The upside of that reality, however, is that shopping for a skier or boarder will never leave one bereft of options. Witness the following list, which is packed with apparel, hard goods and accessories — at a variety of price points — that any powder hound will be stoked to unwrap.
Smartwool PhD Ski Light Elite Buttermilk Nights Print
With artwork from professional skier Chris Benchetler, these socks are designed to inspire. The socks are perfect for high performance backcountry pursuits, thanks to the Indestructawool durability technology, 4 Degree elite fit system and body-mapped mesh zones for breathability.
1. Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat
One can never go wrong with a Carhartt beanie. Affordable, reliable and stylish, it keeps the noggin warm on and off the slopes and is bound to score some street cred points with the lifties. Bonus: it’s available in 38 colors.
2. Yeti Rambler HotShot Bottle
Tote hot coffee, hot chocolate or hot toddies all over the mountain in this stainless steel, leakproof 12-oz. vessel. A half-twist of the HotShot cap allows easy sipping, while double-wall vacuum insulation keeps beverages warm (or cold) from first tracks to last chair.
3. Vermont Smoke and Cure Beef and Pork Sticks
The perfect lift grub is simple, savory and shareable — all of which describe this sampler pack of meat sticks. The BBQ, Cracked Pepper and Chipotle-flavored snacks are free of artificial preservatives, antibiotics and added hormones. They’re also freakin’ delicious.
4. The North Face Thermoball Bootie
With a water-resistant, 100-percent recycled ripstop upper, cozy PrimaLoft synthetic insulation and a traction-packed, partially recycled rubber outsole, these après booties are a welcome respite from even the least oppressive ski boot.
5. Flylow Maine Line Glove
The perfect snow glove doesn’t have to cost a fortune. This nicely priced Flylow classic delivers the goods with pre-treated waterproof pigskin, a tight cuff that easily slips under a jacket and a conversation-starting design that combines the dexterity of a glove with the warmth of a mitten.
Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription
Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.
6. SAXX Cannonball 2N1 Swim Short
Thanks to the trademarked BallPark Pouch, Saxx’s boxer briefs may just be the most comfortable ever. The package-pampering benefits extend to these breathable mesh-lined swim shorts — available in seven styles — making them ideal for a relaxing dip in the hot tub after an extended shred session.
7. DAKINE Mission Pro 18L Backpack
There’s more to this streamlined pack than meets the eye. Handy features include an insulated hydration sleeve, exterior board/ski carry straps, a fleece-lined pocket for shades and goggles — and strategic space for tools, snacks, extra layers and everything else needed for a happy day on the hill.
8. Airblaster Classic Ninja Suit
This uber-comfortable onesie makes first layering simple while boasting a variety of smart-fit features. Chief among them are a seven panel form-fitting hood, four-way stretch AirTech fabric, thumb loops, a full-length front zip and a 350-degree waist zip to accommodate all of nature’s calls.
9. California Cowboy High Sierra Shirt
Beyond its charm and good looks, the High Sierra is packed with clever, après-friendly features. Think thermal lining, a sunglass loop, a dry pocket, a bottle opener, a locker loop for gloves and the coup de grâce: a designated extra pocket in back for stashing, well, an extra beer. (It’s available in eight colorways, too.)
10. DUER Fireside Denim Slim Jeans
Along with power stretch and reinforced seams, these stylish jeans contain a secret ingredient that makes them superior to other pants one might wear around a ski town. A fleece lining woven into the fabric ensures that even when temperatures get low, the wearer will be riding high.
11. Burton Covert Jacket
Sharp style, technical quality and affordability convene in the Covert, which boasts Dryride fabric to ward off wind and wetness, mapped Thermolite insulation to deliver much-needed warmth to the core and Living Lining for breathability. Pit zips and a removable powder skirt round out this shred-ready package.
12. Tipsy Elves Santa Fe Shredder Ski Suit
There are a number of whimsical onesies out there, but few boast the surprising tech features of the Tipsy Elves offerings. A waterproof shell, handy pockets, adjustable cuffs and zippered ventilation at the underarms and inner thighs ensure this suit performs as good as it looks.
13. Smith 4D MAG Snow Goggles
Smith has long been a leader in the goggle game, and this flagship product lives up to the name. Spherical Chromapop lenses with Birdseye Vision provide a huge field of view, AirEvac tech prevents fogging and a magnet-based system makes swapping lenses to adjust to changing light conditions easier than it’s ever been.
14. Ride Lasso Snowboard Boots
When it comes to snowboard boots, laces are a thing of the past. The Lasso’s two hassle-free Boa dials provide a superior fit, keeping the feet secure no matter how aggressively you ride. Meanwhile, a Michelin Summit Sole and moderately stiff construction ensure responsive performance all over the mountain.
15. Kuat Grip 4 Ski/Snowboard Rack
Forget awkwardly struggling to wedge boards and skis into your vehicle. This durable, easy-to-install rack securely stores two boards or four pairs of skis up top with GripLock rubber and a fully locking Flip Mount system.
16. Sweet Protection Grimnir II MIPS Helmet
Brain buckets have come a long way in the past decade, and the Grimnir represents their pinnacle. With a lightweight carbon-fiber shell, MIPS technology to minimize rotational forces and EPS foam to absorb and spread out impact, it’s the toughest helmet money can buy. The optional camera mounts ease the documentation of epic exploits, too.
17. 686 Stretch Gore-Tex Dispatch Bib Pant
The advanced skier or boarder aiming to brave the harshest conditions should look no further than 686’s most technical bib. Waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex keeps precipitation out while letting sweat escape. Hip vents allow additional heat dumping during ambitious hikes. And stretch fabric permits even the most acrobatic of aerial maneuvers.
18. Rossignol XV Sushi Splitboard
Xavier de le Rue is one of the world’s gnarliest riders, and his signature board is equally potent. Detach its two halves and strap on some skins to hike deep into the backcountry. Then put it back together and let the strategically rockered deck, aggressive sidecuts and urethane-reinforced core provide a ride so smooth and surfy, you’d never guess this Sushi is a split.
19. Salomon QST 99 Ski
Salomon’s all-mountain QST line has been a hit winter after winter. That’s because the ski is a total crowd pleaser; both pliant and forgiving yet responsive and nimble, it’s a sure bet for any skier on your list. The QST comes in waist widths from 85 up to 118 millimeters, but we like the Goldilocks-approved 99, which tends to do the trick in nearly all snow conditions.
20. Epic Pass
Price: $989 till November 24th
The price may seem high, but for the avid skier or boarder who likes to travel, it’s quite a bargain. After all, the Epic Pass provides access to more than 40 North American ski areas, including Vail, Heavenly, Whistler-Blackcomb, Park City, Sun Valley and Stowe — plus 21 resorts in France, Italy and Switzerland and 10 in Japan. Hit the slopes frequently enough, and it’ll pay for itself by January.
21. Black Diamond Jetforce Tour 26L Backpack
This pack might not be cheap, but it might also be priceless. The cutting-edge Alpride E1 airbag is an electronic, turbine-based fan system powered by supercapacitors. Or, in less technical terms, it’s an awesome innovation that, in the event of an avalanche, instantly inflates to float you above the snow and potentially save your life. Unlike earlier airbag packs, this one recharges for re-use in less than an hour. But frankly, if you happen to trigger two avalanches in one day, it’s high time to hit the bar.
American Trench x Gear Patrol Down Parka
This full-length parka has an exterior shell of weatherproof Ventile cotton, a performance fabric that goes back to the Second World War. The interior is ethically sourced, 750 fill power down insulation, which will keep you nice and warm in the most bitter cold of winter. The storm cuffs and adjustable pulls on the hood and interior allow the user to fully seal the garment in extreme weather. All of this results in a weatherproof parka at an extremely light weight.