While I usually start shopping for the holidays around Halloween, my husband and I bought a fixer-upper in Park City this fall, which means I’ve been busy buying thrilling items like 2x4s and new toilets that don’t leak into the subfloor instead of purchasing cute printed buffs and trendy flannels for my friends and family.
But suddenly, it was November. The ski resorts began to open and as I grabbed a spare minute to put a layer of wax on my favorite skis, I realized I could get into the holiday shopping mindset even if I don’t have a place to put a Christmas tree yet. So below, I’ve compiled a list of the best of the best ski-themed gifts from Ski Utah and some of my favorite companies.
I generally abide by the only-keep-things-if-they-spark-joy mantra, but my hoarding tendency shows its head when it comes to jackets. I LOVE jackets. And this year, an addition to my collection included Women’s Sweetwater Fleece Coat from Stio, which is comfortable, super cute (that high neck!) and looks great at all après scenarios. For the men, Stio’s Men’s Thermop Fleece Shirt is the perfect gear to sport over your base layer and underneath your jacket, allowing you to transition from shredding pow to post-skiing drinks easily.
We all have that friend that busts out the whiskey flask on the chairlift before you’re totally ready for it, and for our sake and theirs, here’s the gift for them. High West Distillery and Saloon, the Park City distillery, has been producing pre-batched barreled cocktails in a purchasable bottle, which means that instead of trying to choke down a sip of straight whiskey, you can instead take a sip of their smooth and sweet The 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan. Two parts rye whiskey and one part vermouth and bitters, the cocktail comes in a gorgeous bottle and with a history lesson—the cocktail is named after Utah’s deciding vote as the 36th state to repeal Prohibition. Long live chairlift drinks.
Known for their wild sunglasses, hilarious social media posts and blue jean-clad skiing, Pit Viper Sunglasses is probably the most fun Salt Lake City ski industry company. This year, I’ve been coveting their Tushy Tote Sport: an all-terrain fanny pack perfect for carrying all of the weird things you need while skiing 9-4—and even includes a water bottle so you can remain hydrated at these high altitudes. For other nutritional needs, Pit Viper claims that the large main pocket can store three beers or six smushed sandwiches because it’s important to be prepared.
I don’t know about you, but the first part of my body to go numb while skiing is my feet. Though that may be because I skied in New England for 18 years and have so much built-up frostbite on my toes, I’ve found the best tool to combat icy feet are good ski socks. Enter the classic Hot Chillys, which have been producing some of the best socks for the sport for the past 35 years. Though all of their socks are great, I recommend the ones with the prettiest designs: the Women’s Gondola Mid Volume Sock and the Men’s Heli Mid Volume Sock.
Skida makes some of the most beautiful printed hats, headbands and neckwarmers out there, and now you can feel good about buying their new print, ‘Sophie’s World,’ because 40% of your purchase supports U.S. Cross Country Ski Team star Sophie Caldwell. This hat sports little woodland foxes and will look lovely paired with someone’s sweaty red face while they attempt to understand the difference between classic and skate skiing this year.
If you’re planning on hitting your favorite Ski Utah resort this winter, know that you’ll have to cover your face (MOUTH AND NOSE) in order to shred. Our own Ski Utah neck gaitor can do this all for you—just be sure to fold it over or double it up so you give your fellow skiers and snowboarders the protection they deserve. Stay safe to stay open this winter, folks!
With the restrictions on crowds at resorts this year and the ease of access in Utah, the backcountry is going to be crowded this year. And I cannot state this enough: Get the education before getting out there. Ahead of slapping on a set of skins and wandering off into the woods, you need to know about terrain management, decision making and rescue techniques for backcountry skiing. There are dozens of classes around the state, including from the Utah Avalanche Center, AIARE and the American Avalanche Institute. Do your research, take a class and be careful out there.
At the beginning of the “shrink-it, pink-it” feminizing of women’s equipment, I was definitely that girl that refused to wear any gear that resembled a pink color. But now that I’m in my 30s and women’s outdoor gear has come such a long way, I can’t get enough of the shade. For anyone buying for the skiing or snowboarding female in their life, Smith came out this year with the most badass pink shade of their Squad MAG goggles (color: Rock Salt Flood) that I fully endorse. And these goggles aren’t restricted to only females; men can (and should) wear pink too.
As many of our favorite print magazines shut down over the past decade with the popularization of reading things on our computers and phones, 1960s publication Mountain Gazette has bucked the trend and returned in 2020 as a print-only periodical. The magazine is gorgeous—an 11"x17” spread of photos and well-written stories about how people live, work and play in mountain towns—and provides a welcome two-issue respite from the screens we all consume so often.
I’ve always worn mittens, but when I discovered Leather Fall Line Mitts from Hestra, my life was changed. These things are stylish and warm and fit snuggly under your jacket sleeve, meaning there’s no bulk factor. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to another brand. The Fall Lines come in a variety of colors including blue, white, black and gray (and even red in the women’s line!), but I love the dark leather. It’s subtle and sophisticated—and most importantly, matches all the jackets I own.
Here in Utah, we have various NCAA football teams and the Utah Jazz, but team fandom can be polarizing, so we’re not going to throw our support behind one or another. Instead, we encourage you to cheer on Team USA through the Park City-based organization U.S. Ski & Snowboard. As the team that houses all Olympic skiing and snowboarding sports, every piece of swag you purchase from them goes toward helping athletes achieve their dreams. That means you can say that you helped Mikaela Shiffrin or Jessie Diggins win their next gold medal in the 2022 Beijing Olympics when you buy your kid that sweet logoed U.S. Ski Team jacket or fuzzy fur hat.
Two of the coolest nonprofit organizations in the ski industry are Share Winter Foundation and Protect Our Winters. Share Winter Foundation is working to diversify winter sports by providing access to snowsports to under-resourced communities across the U.S. Protect Our Winters is about protecting the places we love from climate change so we can continue skiing and snowboarding season after season. Both organizations are amazing and both could use our help this season.
We hope this helps in your holiday shopping. Let it snow!