The holidays are here! Check out the best gift and gear picks from our Colorado Nordic experts!
FOR THE ROOKIE
The perfect gloves: “Many beginners try to use downhill ski gloves for XC skiing and immediately find them too hot,” says instructor Helen Carlsen from Aspen Nordic. Toko Profi gloves come in individual sizes (i.e. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, not just S, M, L) so they fit perfectly ($45).
A bunch of hats: “Especially for cross-country skiing, having the right weight hat—not too heavy, not too light—can dramatically improve the experience,” says Laura Puckett Daniels of Crested Butte Nordic. “And having a fleet of hats to choose from on any given day helps with dressing for the right conditions so that you're comfortable while skiing.” Bjorn Daehlie polyknits ($25) are a great lightweight choice; Swix Evie knit beanies ($30) are classic for cold days.
Good wool socks: “New skiers can get too concerned about clothing too quickly, but you can’t skimp on the basics,” says former Olympian Jana Hlavaty of Keystone Nordic. “A good pair of wool socks is the best.” Try Smartwool PhD Nordic Medium ($17); or Boulder Nordic Sport carries Darn Tough Lars Nordic boot socks ($24).
FOR THE INTERMEDIATE
A quality softshell jacket: Finally ready to commit? A good softshell jacket keeps you dry and cuts the wind, says Stephanie Wilson of Latigo Ranch Nordic. They like the Marmot Women’s ROM (around $130), or try the Sporthill Men's and Women's Super XC Jacket, $175. Stretchy softshell with DWR, wind and snowproof, good freedom of movement. “Intermediates are ready for an xc-specific jacket so that they are comfortable in all weather,” says Carlsen.
A passport to adventure: When your skier is all in, a season pass is the perfect gift to help them find a Nordic home, build community, and find training routes to love. Most Nordic centers have pass holder bennies like deals on retail and season kick-off parties. Not sure which one to choose? Try a Punch Pass that gives you 18 trail passes at 10 resorts!
Wax wisdom: A Swix F4 Universal Easy Glide (known as “the speed stick”) is great to stash in a pocket for easy touch ups on the go ($16.95).
FOR THE DIEHARD
A weekend getaway: Why waste precious ski time driving when you could park it somewhere perfect and ski nonstop? “A gift certificate for a relaxing weekend of Nordic adventure would be a great way to top things off,” suggests Randy George of Latigo Ranch. For $200 per person per day, you’ll enjoy three gourmet meals, lodging, and access to more than 50K of groomed trails tucked in wild and remote high country.
A cool tool: For the geek who’s got it all—“the Swix EVO Electric Scraper Sharpener does an amazing job making perfect flat and sharp wax scrapers,” says Aspen’s Helen Carlsen, “but only a fanatic would buy one” ($200).
Cross training: “We’re offering guided intros to alpine touring this year,” says Nate Goldberg of Beaver Creek Nordic. Another tip? Consider a pair of Leki Helicon adjustable poles for snowshoeing and hiking ($79.95).