It’s Christmas time and some years I try to help people with Christmas shopping lists for the skiers and riders in their lives. Usually I first call area shops for ideas, but this year I started with Google, which led me to On The Snow magazine’s top 25 gifts.
It was predictable toward the top with shells, jackets, helmets, goggles and the like.
But as I scrolled, I hit a couple ideas I found unique and pretty cool, like the BioLite solar-powered charging station — with a kickstand — for $130.
The $25 Yetti Rambler Colster koozie also seemed useful for post-ski fun or back-country nourishment.
A blog on Liftopia was pushing avalanche safety gear (not big around here), dog beds and various funky helmets and sunglasses.
But a really useful gift for dads and moms with little skiers and riders was the $17.99 Ski Bumper, which attaches to the side of your SUV or car by magnet and has notches to lean your skis and snowboards into it without fear or scratching the side.
I also came across heated ski jackets, an electrifying new take on heated gloves.
But after Google, I made some calls to get ideas from the locals.
Felicia Lynn, manager at Inside Edge Ski and Bike Shop in Queensbury, had lots of ideas, from heated boot bags for $149 to the Dry Guy Green Heat battery pack that charges devices and warms your hands. Those are $39.95.
“I just took the last two of those though for gifts,” she said, mentioning a friend who moved from L.A. and is already very cold.
Lynn said boot bags of any type are great gifts, and she pitched Inside Edge’s Nordic ski package of skis boots and poles for under $200. Oh, and apparently the hollowed out whiskey ski pole is coming back, she said.
Bruce Lundgren at Fall Line Ski Shop in Queensbury wasn’t pitching many different gifts, saying folks really need to simply inventory what they have and need, and buy accordingly. He did say the $95 junior lease program is a great gift for young skiers to ski great skis for a year and give them back and do it again next year
And Justin Higley at Sports Page ski shop in Queensbury was pitching gifts from a company called Ski the East, which features everything from throwback T-shirts featuring rear-entry boots to shot-skis.
“That company has been really popular,” he said, adding that helmets with relatively new floating inner shell technology are great too.
If my family were to be buying for me, ski socks, new insulated underwear, hand warmers, and maybe a set of matching poles for the first time in decade would work.
High Pond bummer
I ran across a post on SkiNewEngland.net that High Pond Ski Area in Brandon, Vermont is experiencing a rebirth.
That was heart-warming news because 46 years ago, that’s where my parents took my sister and I to learn how to ski.
My skis were wooden, the boots were leather and had laces and the hot chocolate reward at the end was sooooo tasty.
I immediately thought I’ll have to make that one of my winter ski destinations to write about this winter.
But the more I read, the more it appears that although the mountain is being renovated — with a new poma lift replacing the old T-bar and a new lodge — I likely won’t be skiing there.
Comments on the bottom of the post indicate it will be a private mountain. It was purchased by Dartley Investments of Ketonah, New York.
A message sent to company principal Peter Dartley went unreturned.
Jeremy Davis, who created the New England Lost Ski Areas Project and website, said he spoke with architects for the project who confirmed it was going to be a private playground. Oh, to have money.
Who knows, maybe this will be read by the owners and I’ll get invited to ski down memory lane there when it’s operational.
Ice shavings fun
I walk my dog at least three days a week and often we pop out of Cole’s Woods trails at the Glens Falls Recreation Center.
My dog is a mixed breed, with a pretty long coat and absolutely loves snow.
In recent days, the walk has included playtime on the mound of Zamboni-made ice shavings pushed outside of the Fire Road rink.
Sometimes he buries, then finds his tennis ball. Sometimes he’s simply digging for nothing but the pure ecstasy of digging in the “snow.”
And sometimes he just eats it, like a rink-flavored snow cone.
Hopefully soon he’ll have all these opportunities in places other than outside and indoor rink. Cold weather is coming, according to forecasters, and hopefully there will be some precipitation in the air accompanying it! Check out Bear on the ice shaving pile at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW4Bz3TPb8A.