Ski racers know a thing or two about traveling the globe with panache. Whether it’s dawn patrol on the mountain or a mad dash through the airport, you can bet a ski racer has more than a few suggestions about how to master an adventurous moment. So who better to recommend a holiday gift for the traveling skier in your life than the staff at SkiRacing.com? Here are our slightly less conventional recommendations for the gifts any mountain enthusiast can live without but probably shouldn’t this winter.
Claire Brown, Publisher and Chief Operating Officer
Aerobie AeroPress ($29.95)
For all traveling coffee lovers, meet the Aerobie AeroPress. Wherever I am around the globe, my day doesn’t officially start until I enjoy a quality cup of coffee. Having spent many early mornings on the hill and now mostly at a desk or in my Sprinter van, coffee is my real wake-up call and the only thing that gets me going for the long day ahead.
The AeroPress is clutch when it comes to brewing affordable, low hassle, high quality coffee. It’s extremely easy to use, no mess, quick clean up and you can pack it along on whatever ski circuit you might be traveling on this winter. Fresh grounds and hot water are all you need, and the end result is a smooth, rich and clean flavor thanks to the paper filter that stops any grounds from sneaking in your cup.
Pro tip: Splurge for good beans and grind ‘em fine. If you really want to geek out, check out the variety of brewing techniques out there.
Christine J. Feehan, Editor in Chief
Philips Wake-Up Light ($69.99-$199.99)
It isn’t easy to roll out of bed in the darkness of winter, and it’s all too easy to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock for a handful of extra minutes under the covers. If those minutes turn into quarter or half hours, though, the day can start off already behind schedule. When the mountain beckons, you have to get up. If morning isn’t your thing, maybe it’s time to try a light therapy alarm clock to bring some brightness to your day from the very beginning.
I’ve relied on the Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520 at home to ease me awake for the past year, and the change in my mornings was instantaneous and for the better. Instead of a loud beeping sound echoing in my ear to rouse me from slumber, the light on my bedside table gets progressively brighter (a sunrise simulation) over 15 or so minutes until my favorite radio station starts playing at the set time. I’m usually wide awake before the music even has a chance, feeling like my body has decided on its own to get up no matter how early. And I mean early. Those 4:45 a.m. airport wake-ups are no problem for me anymore.
Philips offers a wide assortment of Wake-up Lights with a variety of features spanning a wide price range. On the road, I rely on Sharper Image’s portable version of this concept, the Travel Wake to Light Alarm Clock. Unfortunately, that product is sold out at the time of publication, but more might be available in the future. If so, grab one while you can!
Gabbi Hall, Digital Content Editor
Moment smartphone case ($39.99) + Superfish lens ($89.99)
Do you know someone who has justified climbing trees, laying on the ground or generally causing a scene all for the ‘gram? This is the gift for them. Moment smartphone cases and lenses pair together to give aspiring Instagram stars or Snapchat enthusiasts more options for taking incredible photos on the go.
I recommend this set up: a Moment case and their new 15mm Superfish lens. I would also add the Leather Neck Strap and Lens Cap, so you can guarantee your phone won’t get buried in the snow and your new glass won’t get scratched.
Sean Higgins, Associate Editor
Timbuk2 Aviator Convertible Travel Backpack ($189)
If you’ve ever spent long days traveling in airports or lugging gear to and from the ski hill, you know the importance of a high quality, do-it-all backpack. Last winter, I came to the realization that relying on the various giveaway backpacks I’ve collected at ski races over the years just weren’t cutting it anymore. Enter the Timbuk2 Aviator Convertible Travel Backpack.
With generous compartment space and impressive attention to detail, the Aviator covers all of my travel must-haves. Thirty liters of storage, reinforced grab handles on the top, front, and sides, a padded laptop compartment, several water-resistant fabric options, and an optional camera insert ($45-$55) make me feel confident that my expensive equipment will stay safe and dry no matter what I run into on the hill or at the airport. As an added bonus, the Aviator’s unique zipper and strap configuration allows it to easily convert into a small duffel bag for those shorter weekend trips as well. Consider Timbuk2’s lifetime warranty, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Susie Theis, Director of Visual Content
DJI Mavic Pro ($999)
It took me awhile to pull the trigger on my DJI Phantom drone, but once I did I was hooked. The opportunity to get an aerial perspective is awe-inspiring and has stoked my creative outlook. But I’ve found the Phantom somewhat cumbersome to bring along on day hikes or tours. This holiday season, I have my eye on its smaller and more portable cousin, the DJI Mavic Pro. At one-sixth the size of the Phantom, this drone is certain to be ideal for capturing life on the road.
Suggestions From Our Sponsors
POC Race Stuff Poncho ($350)
The lightweight Race Stuff Poncho will keep you warm and comfortable and is designed to be worn over a ski racing suit. It is made from DWR treated two-layer wind and water resistant ripstop nylon and has a 3M Thinsulate loose fill insulation, which retains warmth even when wet. It has reinforced shoulder areas for durability when carrying your skis and an adjustable and helmet-compatible hood. All zippers are easily operated with gloves.
Rossignol HERO PRO SEAT ($130)
The HERO PRO SEAT is a World Cup circuit, heavy-duty technician’s gear and boot backpack with an integrated folding seat. Made with rugged 600D Polyester, it has a convenient carrying handle and three external gear pockets.
Spyder Women’s Timeless Hoody USST Down Jacket ($299)
Represent the U.S. Ski Team in style but also take advantage of new NFC-enabled technology with the Women’s Timeless Hoody USST Down Jacket. Through a partnership with Smartrac, Spyder offers a select collection of items to connect with NFC-enabled consumer devices globally. By tapping a phone or tablet against the NFC touchpoint embedded into the Spyder logo on these jackets, fans can instantly engage in real-time social media with world-class USST members as well as share location-based information including snow conditions, trail maps, points of interest and regional events.
Tecnica Moon Boot Monaco ($180)
Keep your feet warm and toasty after a day on the hill, or during a day on the side of the hill watching your favorite racer! Moon Boot comfort and warmth in a sleeker silhouette; waterproof and insulated, they will keep you warm and dry in the mountains or on city streets.
Uvex Big 40 VFM ($209.95)
Think big is the motto of the Uvex Big 40 VFM – the large goggle is a true attention-grabber for those big powder days. To better keep an eye on your surroundings in steep couloirs and changing light conditions, the spherical full mirror lens of the Uvex Big 40 measures a full 40 mm relief from the forehead to the projection of the nose.
Völkl All Pro Gear Bag ($175)
The ski vacation warrior, this wheeled bag will fit four pairs of skis and poles, with a padded divider to keep skis protected. When only carrying two pairs of skis, you can fit your boots in the two interior pockets. Includes one exterior pocket and two interior pockets for wet gear or anything you want to keep separate from your skis.