We all have those people in our lives that are nearly impossible to shop for. Gift cards have their time and place, but when we can give that person something we know they’ll love and use, it makes everyone warm & fuzzy inside! Check out what we think that backcountry lover in your life would appreciate as a gift this holiday season.
Big Ticket Items
Likely, the enthusiast you are shopping for has the big ticket items: skis/board, boots, & bindings. These can also be the most difficult thing to buy for someone else. Unless they are leaving you very heavy, not so inconspicuous clues. Like sending an “accidental” screen shot of their dream skis that was meant to go to their “buddy”. Or the repeated statements like, “My boots are totally thrashed, I really need a new pair and TMS has the new Blizzard Zero G Peak in my size in stock now. I really shouldn’t wait…”
For the Uphill Travel
A New Pair of Climbing Skins
Skins are a key component of getting uphill. They get the name from once having been actual animal skins. Now, they are all made of synthetic material. This material grips the snow on the uphill to prevent backward movement to get you uphill more efficiently. As you move the ski forward the material flattens out and gives a nice glide. Skins do have a lifespan though and that lifespan depends on a variety of things such as amount of use, terrain that they are used in, and how well they are taken care of. If you know your backcountry user is in need of new climbing skins, this is a little easier purchase as simply knowing the length of the ski/board can get you what you need. If you know the waist width, you’re in an even better situation. Throw in a $20 gift card and they can come back for a professional skin trim!
Poles to Get You Up…and Down
Whether the backcountry devotee rides two planks down the hill, or one, they need poles! A good adjustable pole is the route to go for either person. You may need to adjust the length of poles throughout the climb up depending on the conditions, which is why even skiers go for adjustable poles in the backcountry. For splitboarders, it may be obvious, they don’t use poles on the way down! So, a nice compactable pair of poles that stow away nicely for the downhill is preferred. The Black Diamond Compactor poles are my personal favorite for splitboarding, but there are all kinds of options. Any 3 piece adjustable pole for either skiing or splitboarding would be my suggestion as a place to start.
When traveling in the backcountry, safety is of the utmost importance. At minimum, backcountry users should have a beacon, shovel, and probe. If you’re gift receiver is already an avid BC user, it’s likely they have all the right stuff. But, if they’ll be getting out for their first season in the backcountry this year, the Black Diamond Avalanche Safety Set makes a great all-in-one gift.
Back to Basics
Ok, so far we have gone over the more technical gifts, and if you’re overwhelmed by those options and/or have a budget to follow, have no fear, we’ve got you. Your classic gifts that go for any snow lover fall into this category as well as some backcountry specific accessories that won’t break the bank.
Wax On, Wax Off
Simple ski tuning and maintenance tools are great. Yes, you still need to wax your backcountry skis, so wax is a great gift you can never have enough of. What works especially great for the backcountry user is some rub-on wax. Conditions can change rapidly in the backcountry and being able to throw a layer of wax on before transitioning to the ski down can be game changing. There is also skin wax, for those…sticky situations. This helps prevent snow from sticking to the bottom of the skin and keeps the glide to the top smooth. There can be nothing more frustrating then a pile of snow sticking to the bottom of your ski during an already heavily exerting effort.
It’s What’s Underneath that Counts
Seriously though, a good pair of socks and baselayers should not be discounted as great gifts! TMS has an on going, buy 3 get 20% off, deal with socks. You can mix and match styles and brands. Buy some for the whole family or white elephant party. Just remember, thicker is not always better. Especially, for those backcountry travelers who will likely be working up a sweat. Thinner socks wick the moisture away from the foot better, helping the foot stay dryer, thus ultimately keeping those little piggies warmer. And who doesn’t love a matching baselayer set like these awesome Kari Traa sets?! They have merino blends and synthetic styles for those who aren’t into wool. Don’t worry guys, we have Smartwool, Saxx, and Ortovox baselayers that you can get in matching sets too!
If you’re still unsure after all this, just remember, Tahoe Mountain Sports is a backcountry ski shop! You are in great hands with us, stop by anytime and we will personally help you find the perfect gift for that backcountry aficionado. You can even make a personalized shopping appointment so our staff can help you find the best gear for your needs and your budget. Our experts don’t work on commission and their only goal is to find the right gear for whom ever you’re buying for! Happy Holidays!
Tarin is a personal trainer, yoga teacher, the TMS marketing director and overall outdoor enthusiast who’s dabbled in a little of everything. She spends winter snowboarding, splitboarding, and more recently, snowmobiling too. In the summer you can find her mountain biking and teaching paddleboard yoga and fitness on Lake Tahoe and Donner lake!