The crisp air of a winter morning, clouds of breath forming as warm meets cold. The sharp glare of the sun as it hovers on the horizon, ready to wash the valley in light. The quick scurry of a fox into the brush, disappearing at daybreak. This is the start of a day full with the promise of climbing up rocks; hiking into remote trails; or schüssing with the ease of a gazelle. This is the love of the mountains.
Here, the pleasures are simple. The agenda is pure fulfillment. And the people who holiday, play, and live in these altitudinous places are able to enjoy such simple pleasures largely because of stuff. Lots and lots and lots of stuff. Stuff like puffy jackets that keep body heat in and cold air out. Stuff like GORE-TEX-treated snow pants to keep legs and derrières dry. Stuff like slippers for lounging by the fire in a wooden cabin while sipping on a glass of 40-year Islay. Stuff like long underwear made from the wool of sheep that live 6,000 miles away, with Montessori educations and diets of the finest vegan feed.
Because, if one isn’t wrapped in warm, cozy, organic materials, are they even above sea level? Here, we share some of our favorite products for ski holidays, camping out and keeping warm and dry, however the mountain lover on your list enjoys their high-altitude, low-oxygen pursuits.
These shoes were born to cruise. Specifically on muddy days in mountain towns,
indoors by a roaring fire, or tucked into a brewery banquette. Sanuk’s
‘80s-inspired slippers, the Puffy Chiller Low, were made in part with recycled polyester
and an eco-minded sugar-derived material for a minimal footprint with maximum cool.
For the person on your list with outdoorsy style to spare and good times in mind. They’re
like ultralight, ultra-comfy puffy jackets just for feet.
Give the gift of powder days and snug-as-a-bug nights with a map of their favorite ski resort. More useful than a tee-shirt and far softer than a trail guide, Powder Addicts has a range of fuzzy fleece options, from Sugarloaf in Maine to Califoria’s Mammoth Mountain. Started by a passionate Utah skier with a healthy sense of humor, the company has a veritable cornucopia of cute gift ideas for skiers, snowboarders, and experts in après-ski. Start with a blanket that helps them dream of champagne snow and bluebird conditions. Throw in some snuggies, map flasks and all other manner of ski-mania swag if summer’s just too long.
Designed for the backcountry powder hound who swaps fresh tracks for office commutes on a regular basis. Along with selling products from major outdoor brands, evo, the ecommerce powerhouse for mountain addicts, has a few of its own in-house items, which are well worth considering alongside well-known industry names. Their 26L backpack has all the straps, buckles, pockets and zips for a daylong backcountry ascent (skis, boards, snowshoes, snacks, layers, and more). But the bag really shines when it’s time to trade out ski poles for all manner of devices. The handy, inside slot fits a laptop as perfectly as an avalanche shovel. And the same interior features that held packed-down poles and probes so well make nice spots to stash water bottles, cords, pens, and any other trappings of desk life.
In 2007, professional backcountry snowboarder Jeremy Jones launched Protect Our Winters (POW) as a response to the drop in snowpack he began to notice year after year. Now, 16 years later, what started as a seed of an idea about fighting climate change has become a national organization with lobbying power, robust donations and policy wins. It’s also grown beyond its origins in snow sports: today, POW is an alliance among scientists, trail runners, mountain bikers, rock climbers and others who care about climate change and its impact. Help the mountain-lover in your life protect what they love, while scoring them some nifty swag, nice discounts with partner brands and, of course, a cause-driven bond with Jones himself.
One of the original American outerwear brands is back. With updated styles, cool design collabs and the same high quality, Eddie Bauer has reimagined some of the staples that made it famous. From a camping trip to a backcountry powder day and an evening outdoors at the bar to a blustery seaside stroll, this is a must-have body-warmer that the mountain-lover in your life will surely put on heavy rotation. Built and tested by guides at elevations up to 8,000m, this is the Maserati of puffy coats (albeit at a manageable price) that keep bodies warm but keep them at a stable temp. Go ahead, try it out. We dare you to take it off before spring arrives.
Voted one of the best inventions of 2022 by Time Magazine, Spy Optic;s Happy Boost Lens is just what it sounds like, and then some. The company’s proprietary technology is designed not only to help skiers, snowboarders and other snow-bound recreationalists see where they’re going better than ever. The lens color is made to boost one’s mood and alertness while enhancing natural colors and contrast. As anyone who’s ever been caught in what’s known as flat light can attest, contrast and color really can make a day on the hill that much better (and safer). Now, if SPY could just come up with glasses for workdays, too, no mood would be left languishing.
Yes, #mountainlife can be incredibly fun, exciting and rewarding. Especially for those of
the adrenaline-junkie variety. But trying to set up camp, cook dinner or, say, make a pot
of coffee in the dark loses its luster quite quickly. That’s where the ultra-portable,
packable and durable LuminAID Titan 2-in-1 comes in. It squashes down to pack flat
when not in use and twists to pop up when you’re ready to see what you’re doing. With
handy features like a velcro strap, carabiner loop, red light mode and up to 100 hours of
power, it can also charge devices while it lets you enjoy the night. Perfect for everything
from patio barbecues to fishing trips. The kind of item that seems superfluous…until you
can’t live without it.
For the active woman in your life whose gear needs to keep up with her pace. This Japanese-made shell jacket is designed with skiing, snowboarding and backcountry adventures in mind. It has a pocket for everything (and then some), from a place for her skipass in the forearm to an outside, front-zip pocket that’s perfect for snacks. Powder skirt, durable zippers, a helmet-sized hood for storm days and a velcro at the wrists (not to mention, little hand-warmer sleeves tucked within) are just a few of the features that make this jacket a standout. Not to mention, a gorgeous, wave-like pattern on parts of the lining.
Nimi YamaPro 3L Bibs
What’s a cool ski-day shell without a matching bib? In the case of Oyuki’s matching set for women who shred (or gently turn on the bunny hill), the bib is just as great as the jacket, with fully-adjustable straps, another chest pocket for (more) snacks or lip balm and a curve-friendly silhouette that keeps the snow out but gives the body room to maneuver. The stretchy upper panel brings extra comfort and fit, while the branded Always Dry tech within the fabric lets weekend warriors enjoy the elements without feeling their effects. Nifty snaps at the cuffs look cool and allow easy boot removal before après-ski means no more fighting with snow pants just to get a darn cup of sake. We’ll toast to that.
It’s long been rumored that New Zealand has more sheep than people. For
devotees of icebreaker products, that’s a boon to their outdoor pursuits. Made with
merino wool sourced from that progressive island nation, along with its Commonwealth
cousins, Australia and South Africa, the company’s goods have long been leaders in the
natural-material, warm-garment world. That’s because this particular stuff is made to
last. It keeps damp cold out and body heat in and, unlike some synthetic materials, tends
to tamp down body odor, too. After multi-day hikes, ski trips in close quarters or sharing
a tent, that little benefit becomes less of a nice-to-have and more of a must-have born of
desperation and stink. Here, the 200 Oasis Thermal Leggings have the fundamental
soft, breathable features and get stretchy for full mobility. The Quantum III
Long Sleeve zip hoodie is the do-everything mid-layer runs, hikes, climbs and hits the
farmer’s market with style and luxurious warmth.