Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stocking Stuffers for the toughest people to buy for on your list: Men!

Euan Sadler at Whistler Blackcomb last weekend 
I always find men toughest when it comes to choosing gifts, don't you? How many socks, bottles of booze, keyrings, watches or aftershave lotions do they really need? So I have reached out to skiing buddies all over the world for their ideas. My hubby, Simon, and I are buying each other Rossi skis this year, but I still have to find a few small items to put under the tree. Hope these ideas help you cross those mystifying mountain men off your list, too! 
Lake Louise Plus Card

Ski Resort Card

A resort card for Lake Louise! Easy to wrap, great value at $109 and it's a gift that lasts all winter long. The Louise Plus Card covers 7 days skiing initially, with days 1,4,7 free. And then after that there are daily discounts for each ski day throughout the season. Silver Star, BC is a new addition this season - a lovely resort with some radical black runs. 

In the spring there are three weeks of Bonus Days - April 17-May 7 - when you can also get $20 off friends lift tickets. The Lake Louise Plus Card is available until Dec 31 for ages 13 and up. 

It's a gift of sport, fresh air, fun and outdoor excitement for the whole season. If these seven resorts don't work for the man in your life, look into resort cards in the areas he is planning to ski this season. Most discount cards are available to purchase up to the end of December. 

Bolle Millennial Helmet
Bollé Helmets 

Focusing on ultimate fit, fashion and comfort, Bollé  dates way back to 1888 when it was founded in a tiny village in France manufacturing hair ornaments. After WWII they started molding nylon, making safety glasses and goggles. Ski goggles were added to their product line in 1960, the first in the ski industry. All of this technology was the precursor to today's ultra light, extra durable helmets. My hubby was resilient to the notion of helmet-wearing until a couple of years ago when he tried a Bollé helmet and he hasn't skied a day without it since! Pair with Virtuose goggles for the perfect present. 

Raclette Grill for Swiss-style tabletop entertaining!
Swissmar Raclette Party Grill for eight people
Xmas Day Breakfast 2015, all cooked on a raclette grill

For guys who don't really like cooking unless it's on the bbq, a Swissmar Raclette Party Grill is a perfect gift. It's table top so you can use it all year round for a huge variety of cuisine, all with a Swiss ski resort ambiance. These were invented in Switzerland originally, for cooking raclette cheese - in the little palettes under the grill - but you can use them for any cheeses that melt well and, on the top, a vast variety of meats, vegetables, fish and seafood, etc. Even works for cut up sausage and mini burgers. If you pre-cook potatoes, you can heat them up in the cheese palettes, too. For a fancy Xmas Day breakfast, raclette grills work well for eggs, bacon and all the trimmings. They are sociably interactive, as everyone cooks their own food - usually with plenty of banter and squabbling! All that has to be done in advance is buy the ingredients and slice things up. A great gift for guys of any age - especially students - who don't have much time, energy or inclination for cooking. Very portable for those with an itinerant or seasonal lifestyle. Perfect, too, for the whole family particularly while away on a ski trip and they are non-stick and dishwasher safe. Swissmar makes lots of different versions, including one with a granite stone top and the Locarno Pizza Raclette Party Grill.

Goal Zero Venture 30 recharger
Waterproof Hitcase 

Powder Matt Mosteller - from Resorts of the Canadian Rockies - suggests the Goal Zero Venture 30 recharger for portable power to charge devices so you can keep posting pics and updates on even the really cold days - and he gets plenty of those in Canada! And Hitcase phone cases, says Matt who spends all year in outdoor pursuits, are resilient to anything from surf to snow.
Big White Gifts
Natalia Jastrzab from Big White recommends a branded toque. Insulated, warm and brightly-coloured, they are made in Canada. Or tickets to the Big Reds/Big Whites Wine Festival, or Tomahawk Steak Dinner at Kettle Valley Steakhouse? Or how about the thrill of mushing through Big White's breathtaking backcountry with an enthusiastic and powerful team of sled dogs?
Learn to Drive a Snowcat 
If he's into monster machines, then learning how to command a massive Prinoth Bison snowcat could be a great gift. The three hour instruction program at Aspen's Snowcat Academy includes laying lines of corduroy on Panda Peak at Buttermilk Mountain. Their Stage IV/Tier 4 snowcats are operated by joystick. Costs $875 for up to two guests, including hot cocoa and treats from element 47 at The Nell - exclusive to guests of The Little Nell, Residences at The Little Nell and The Limelight Hotel
Moody Magnetic Goggles from Giordini
Magnetic Goggles

Magnetic lenses mean he can quickly swap them according to weather conditions and visibility changes throughout the day. These goggle by Giordini are $150 - other brands retail around $200 for this function. They also give great peripheral vision. They come with the second lens, a case and a bag. 

With 7 % Elastane stretch, these are the ultimate flexible thermal leggings and matching baselayer. Made by Obermeyer, they have flat seaming. And the top has an interior windguard under the zipper. 
Astis Gloves 
Using natural materials on the exterior, Astis celebrates a time honored approach to handcrafted leather artistry. Made from cow hide, they are decorated with beads and fur. Brad Peterson founded the company after being given a pair of original Cree mittens by one of his best friends. Phil had traded them for a swiss army knife. This pair of gloves outlasted all others Brad had worn: 12 years of intense skiing adventures at very cold temps. They may have lasted even longer but one day he left them around and his dog ate them! This spurred him into setting up manufacture. Today's versions are based on the same design but lined with Polartec Thermal Pro High Loft. 
Aspen Mountain Powder Tours

Powder Present
If you feel like splurging, how about buying him a cat or heli day? Aspen Mountain Powder Tours ensure an unforgettable powder experience on their guided cat skiing/riding tours with an average of 10,000 vertical feet of ungroomed wilderness skiing and boarding in an expanse of 1,100 acres including open bowls, meadows and glades. 

Multi Purpose Ski Gift Cards 
Liftopia gift cards can be used at ANY participating resort (over 250 resorts in North America alone) allowing the freedom to go when and where the snow is. No fees or expiration dates, and you can choose any amount from $5 to $1,000, sent digitally or printed out. With potential savings up to 85% of walk-up window rates, they cover advance-purchased lift tickets, equipment rentals, and meal vouchers. 

For the guy who over-estimates his fitness:

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek's Skier Recovery Lounge debuts this winter. For $60, he'll get 30mins of elevated legs and oxygen, a recovery-inspired cocktail and a pair of compression socks. For extra cost, there are IV recovery treatments infused with vitamins and minerals and a specific Hangover Healer IV!

Chris Bailey in British Columbia in March
Manly Meat Sticks
Chris Bailey is big into skinning in the Vermont backcountry as well as cross-country skate-skiing - both hugely energetic sports. He also gets to western resorts in the US and Canada as you can see in the photo. As CEO of Vermont Smoke & Cure, he has developed a dried meat jerky protein snack to keep off-piste skiers like himself going, when far away from resort facilities. Small enough to fit in a pocket, they come in various flavours including the new uncured bacon. For guys who don't like lingering in the lodge, this could be an interesting stocking stuffer - although don't leave it under the tree if they have a dog!

And if it still has to be socks, make sure they are Smartwool, made from resilient but soft - and non-smelly! - merino wool.  They even have a two-year guarantee during which time they can be returned for any defects. There are snowboard as well as ski versions and different weights from ultra light to medium, depending on how tight you have your boots.

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