Holiday Gift Ideas for Snow Sports Fanatics

Boots, socks and shades will help keep winter athletes warm and protected from the elements.

It is no secret that winter sports enthusiasts like their stuff. Yeah, they can be equipment junkies.

Here are some gift ideas to pass along to Santa or the person who has been bugging you about what you want for the holidays:

What are the holidays without stockings?

Darn Tough has come out with its most colorful line of socks ever as part of the 2011-2012 lines for men, women and children.

The Vermont-based company has been in the sock business for more than three decades and its Merino wool is about as itch-free and comfortable as it gets. The company also provides two comfort levels in its ski and ride over-the-calf hosiery - cushion and ultra light.

Colors for this season are anything but boring:

  • Charcoal (A two-tone gray).
  • Lava (a copper and gray combination and my favorite so far).
  • Rad Red (Self-explanatory).
  • Groovy Green (Yes, it's far out, man).
  • Teal (You can locate people in the lodge with them).
  • Night shade (Two shades that are perfect for the 6-year-old who demands her room be painted purple).
  • Starry Night Boysenberry (They look like boysenberries).
  • Starry Night Willow (The socks look like a willow tree).

The ski and ride socks retail for about $20 - relatively cheap considering the quality - and can be found at outdoor stores all over the region - particularly in Danbury.

For a full description of the Darm Tough line, check out DarnTough.com.

• • •

Winter hiking enthusiasts will like the OmniTrax 3.0 Interchangeable Sole System from Korkers boots because it allows you to adapt your footwear's traction to meet changing weather conditions.

The Icejack is the Cadillac of the line. It is high-cut - well over the ankle - and comes with an adjustable wire lacing system that takes re-tying with cumbersome gloves out of the picture.

The Icejack comes with two outsoles – the SnowTrac Winter Rubber Lug and the IceTrac Studded Rubber Lug with carbide studs (32 to a pair).

The boots are made of a waterproof/breathable bootie, and waterproof leathers, webbing and stitching to keep the interior dry. The boots feature 600 grams of Thinsulate insulation that includes an underfoot placement for extra warmth during less-aerobic outdoor activities like working outside, ice fishing and snowmobiling.

The boots weight just more than 3 pounds per pair. They retail for $199.99.

Check out the Icejack at Korkers.com.

• • •

Some days are just not goggle days.

But what type of sunglasses does one get? It can be a frustrating experience to match them up to fit and condition. Are they cool looking or do they look like they have comes out of a gumball machine? Are the lenses good for changing light or does a little cloud cover make it seem like you are riding in a cave?

What about that surprise mogul field in the flat light of the late-day run?

It's funny, but we can look to Hawaii for the answer on snow. Maui Jim comes as close to perfect as it gets.

Take the Ho'Okipa, for example. It means hospitality and the sunglasses are certainly accommodating to all conditions encountered on the hill. 

The frames do not weigh much and eliminate any chance of that nose-mark. Plus, they look good on anyone (even those in the teal and orange jackets left over from the 1908s) hanging out on the patio at lunchtime or reclining in an Adirondack chair après-ski.

Something called the PolarizedPlus 2 lens technology cuts most of the glare out on bright days and then allows definition from staring at white-on-white during gray days.

The Ho'Okipa retails for $159. It's a serious investment, but these are serious sunglasses.

The brand is featured at Sunglass Hut at the malls in West Hartford, Manchester and Enfield and the full collection of Maui Jim's can be seen at MauiJim.com with descriptions, pricing and displays.    

About this column: Snow Business explores the world of skiing and snowboarding throughout the Northeast and United States. Chris Dehnel is the Vernon Patch editor and a past president of the Eastern Ski Writers Association.


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