Christmas shopping for winter enthusiasts

Holiday gift ideas to get ready for the snow
By: Jeffrey Weidel
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Buying a Christmas gift for that winter enthusiast can be challenging. With so many things to consider, it’s a dilemma many people can’t tackle without some help.

Are you a parent who skis and knows nothing about snowboards, other than you are no big fan of how they can chew up a powder run in a huge hurry? Or perhaps you want to treat the girlfriend or wife to new ski equipment, but frankly don’t have a clue on what to purchase.

Here are some suggestions for the winter enthusiasts on your Christmas list.


Snowboard gear: Boots are the first and most important item to buy, so make that the initial purchase. Surprises are nice, but to insure a good fit, bring the person with you and have them walk around in the boots to test comfort and appropriate fit.

After the boot is purchased, then go looking for a board and bindings. Keep in mind when buying a board that it should be about chest high so it’s easier to handle.

Many manufacturers make small boards these days for young children, starting at around age five to seven. Look for a light, flexible one that suits a child’s small legs.

For all purchases, it’s good to do some research online to get acquainted with both the board and boots. But visit a ski shop and let the pros get involved. They should be able to hook you up with the right boots, bindings and board size.


Ski Gear: Just like snowboards, the first and most vital purchase is boots. Proper fit, the right level of stiffness and comfort are the main priorities. When you do find that just-right boot, try several different sizes in the same model to make sure which fits your foot best.

Because there are so many kinds of skis and the technology is constantly changing, it's definitely helpful to learn a few things about the gear, so go online, read a ski magazine, and rely on a true equipment expert at a ski shop.

Based on what one tells a salesperson regarding the characteristics of the skier (experience level, terrain preferred) will determine what type of ski you’re looking for that’s in your price range.

Depending on the person and their ability, consider a package deal that offers discounts when purchasing skis, boots, bindings and poles.


Video inspiration: What better way to get psyched for a day on the slopes than to check out Warren Miller’s latest creation. Although the celebrated ski filmmaker is no longer involved in the process, his legend lives on. This year’s film –“Dynasty: 60 Years in the Making” – showcases six decades of footage from Warren Miller’s ski and snowboarding films.
Narrated by Jonny Moseley and presented in high definition, the ski and snowboard film offers the usual daring mountain runs and stunts that have become standard footage each year and were captured by Miller and his team at various ski resorts around the world, including several Tahoe resorts.

For snowboard junkies, a copy of “Let It Ride” is a great selection. The Jacques Russo movie chronicles the legendary career of Craig Kelly, one of the most successful boarders in history. The documentary spans 25 years and concludes tragically with Kelly’s death during an avalanche in 2003.


Stocking stuffers

Sunglasses and gloves are always a good bet. So are sunscreen, lip balm, hats, scarves and socks. With both gloves and socks, don’t ever go cheap. Cold feet and hands typically lead to a miserable day on the slopes.


Jeffrey Weidel is a Sacramento free-lance writer with more than 25 years of skiing experience.