10 essential Christmas stocking fillers for the skier or snowboarder in your life
1. Hand warmers – heaven in a glove
There is no finer pleasure than warm hands on the ski lift when all around are blizzardy ski conditions. Snap the clicker inside these pouches for instant warmth for several hours – enough to share with a whole group! Ensure you buy reusable pouches though as much for environmental reasons as the enjoyment of simply resetting them ready for another day.
Expect to pay: £6 for two.
2. Original boot bananas – banish smells from the boot room
After a full day on the slopes, it's fair to say ones boots can be a little fragrant. Of course our guests have the pleasure of leaving their boots on dedicated boot warmers but there's still the trip home and to be honest the boot bananas are amazing for many a pair of my husband's shoes! Entirely natural, they contain bamboo charcoal, baking soda, dried lavender flowers, zeolite and even essential oils in order to keep footwear dry and fresh.
Just like with real bananas, the boot bananas start to turn brown as they become over ripe to indicate that they have soaked up plenty of moisture and are fully saturated. It is then time to replace them and this is about 6 months later, depending on use!
Expect to pay: £12 / £13 a pair
3. Ski Angel shin protectors - ahhh
You can almost feel the relief! While snowboarders fare rather smugly well in their soft, flexible boots, skiers still suffer from blisters, despite equipment advances. These easy to apply shin protectors are a god send, destined to nip any sore spots in the bud before they put a dampener on one's ski holiday.
Expect to pay: £17 - £20
4. The Ski Walker – may the force be with you
The ski walker or snowboard equivalent is a nifty device that helps you carry your skis. It looks really easy to use and cuts out the hassle and sometimes downright shoulder pain of carrying your equipment from the slopes. They don't look too geeky either.
Expect to pay: £12
5. Ski socks – toasty and technical
A merino sock is always a cut above – soft and comfortable while super insulated too. The Falke SK Energising Wool socks are specially designed for skiers with compression areas around the calves to increase blood flow, keeping muscles oxygenated and less prone to tiredness. Wow! Teko and Bridgedale are other good brands to opt for.
Expect to pay: from £20 - £40 a pair
6. SheWee Extreme – weeeeeeeeee
Not everyone's cup of tea but there are times on ski slopes, especially for the back country enthusiast when the boys have a much easier time of it. Small, discreet, I am told that this is very easy to use and a lifesaver when faced with serious embarrassment on the slopes. One for a very good friend, wife or daughter perhaps?
Expect to pay: £10 - £12
7. Hipflask – a little nip on the lift works wonders
Whether it's Aspinals or the incredible selection of personalised alternatives on NotOnTheHighSt, a hip flask is an absolute classic for the skier – lady or gent. The question then is whether to fill it with home-made sloe gin or Dalwhinnie's finest…
Expect to pay: £25 - £95
8. Sun block – extreme protection for extreme exposure
Protecting your loved one from premature ageing? Absolutely. One can't underestimate the strength of the sun in the winter sports environment. It pays to invest in specialist sun protection. For the ladies, I would always go for something a little refined – Clarins is a sophisticated, high performing but gentle on the skin winner. The man in your life will thank you for addressing the practicalities first – Lifesystems is great on sensitivity but also handy for the pocket too.
Expect to pay: £17 (Clarins sun control stick) or £7 (Lifesystems Expedition Sun)
9. Beanie – a hat for all occasions
The bobble, hunter, helmet liner or pocket beanie – no man or woman can have too many hats. Ensure it's fleece lined, sufficiently covers the ears and street cred compatible. Barts does a great knitted bobble. Arcteryx is pretty good on the technical beanie while Moncler has some gorgeous, delectably soft hats to die for.
Expect to pay: £20 - £110
10. Equipment cable lock – safety first
This is probably the item that a skier is least likely to buy him or herself, no matter how much he or she adores their ski or snowboard equipment. But save their skis when a light fingered marmot strikes and you'll have more brownie points than Brown Owl herself. Small and light enough to fit in a pocket, if nothing else, a cable lock will give the recipient peace of mind to enjoy partying a little longer at the Folie Douce.
Expect to pay: £10 - £15
That should be your stocking filled. Meanwhile if you're still looking for something a little extra special, don't miss last year's round up of ‘ultimate luxury ski gifts for the man who has everything'. Fortunately, luxury doesn't date.