10 Skiing Gifts For Beginners
Shopping for someone who just started to ski? Start here, with this list of suggestions from ski expert Aidan Anderson.
If you’re someone whose friends or loved ones are getting into, already into, or head over heels in love with skiing, you’ve probably heard them talk about gear they want all the time. In fact, you may have noticed you can’t actually get them to stop talking about new gear they want. Let’s face it, skiers are hard to shop for, and navigating the amount of new gear every season to find something that might be a good gift feels like an impossible task. However, when you nail it perfectly and gift a skier something they’ve always wanted, you will immediately become their best friend or favorite family member. So to give you a head start, let’s run through some of the best gifts for the beginner to intermediate skiers in your life.
The biggest step for someone newer to skiing is to get away from renting skis and get their own pair. This can be tough for several reasons: not knowing exactly what is the best fit, not wanting to spend a ton of money, and not wanting something too aggressive. This is where the Rossignol Experience 84 excels. It’s an extremely friendly ski for someone looking to progress, that can ramp up in performance if you decide to start pushing it harder. Not too wide—so it’s nimble in the bumps and trees—but wide enough that it will still feel good in a little bit of fresh snow. What’s more, the Experience is also available with a system binding that comes with the ski, to cut down on cost, and prevent you from having to shop separately for a binding. For an in depth look at what length skis are right for yourself or for someone else, check out this guide on ski sizing.
As any skier will tell you, apparel is important for many reasons. Look good, feel good, but when it comes down to it quality counts. Having gear that will keep you dry and comfortable is key to being able to really enjoy your time on the mountain, and nobody knows this better than Flylow. A company made by skiers for skiers, with a perfect mesh of style and technical quality to have you warm, dry, and looking good. The Baker Bib for men and the Sphynx Bib for women are your one stop shop for a pair of pants to use for everything. Deep powder days, spring corn, shoveling your driveway—bibs are in and for good reason. They’re crazy comfortable, and they work well for everything.
If there’s one piece of equipment that can make or break a ski day, it’s gloves. Freezing your fingers off can ruin even the best day on the mountain, and having the right glove (or mitten) is vital. Hestra makes some of the best gloves out there, and with a lifetime warranty they’re hard to beat. They use goat skin instead of cow skin in their leather products to ensure better waterproofing and a more comfortable fit, and they are seriously warm. Check out the Fall Line Glove for guys and gals, and the Fall Line 3 Finger Glove for those who need a bit more warmth.
4. Base Layers
While it’s obviously important what you’re wearing on the outside while skiing, it’s also incredibly important to be wearing the right stuff underneath. Cotton t-shirts and sweatpants are a major no-no under your ski clothes, and in order to stay dry and warm, good base layers are a huge game changer. Terramar makes some of the best base layers out there, to keep you warm without sweating and feeling constricted. Antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, and super comfortable, these are a must for anyone not yet on the base layer train. That being said, even if you already have some, you can never have too many.
To break away from gifts to fill out a ski package, let’s talk about a potential gift for when the mountain is closed. Or, perhaps something to help out the novice backcountry enthusiast who’s looking to break some trail of their own. Having a pair of snowshoes handy is a great way to get exercise if you can’t be on skis, and also an awesome way to check out terrain outside the resort. Tubbs Flex snowshoes are super lightweight and easy to use, making them great for longer snow hikes. Don’t mistake a pair of snowshoes for an easy alternative to a backcountry setup; it’s still important to have the proper training and gear for skiing out of bounds, but it’s an awesome way to get comfortable scouting terrain and hitting some of your favorite summer hikes when they're covered in snow. Check out the Flex RDG 24 for men, and the Flex RDG 22 for women.
For the most part, snowshoes are one size fits all, with the men’s being 24 inches and the women’s being 22 inches. With a fully adjustable binding, the Tubbs Flex series can accommodate any shoe size with no problem.
6. A Neckwarmer
This one sort of speaks for itself. Everyone can always use a new neckwarmer, all the time. Buff is the first name that comes to mind when thinking about neckwarmers, because they’re comfortable, they look good, and they don’t break the bank. For your family, for your friend, for a white elephant, you can’t go wrong. Check out the Polar Neckwarmer for some sweet designs.
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A good pair of goggles can do a lot to enhance your skiing experience. Being able to see well on bright sunny days, as well as low light days when the snow is falling, makes a huge difference. Not to mention, having a good looking pair of goggles makes you feel darn good. Smith is arguably one of the best goggle companies out there today, and has been for a long time. There’s tons of options from budget to glasses compatible, to ultra fancy, but for something tried and true the Smith I/O takes the cake. Easily one of the best selling goggles for years now, the I/O comes with two lenses for sunny and cloudy days. These goggles look great and fit great. Plus, they come in tons of color combos, and it’s easy to get new lenses should anything ever happen to them.
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8. A Helmet
Every single skier on the mountain needs a helmet. That being said, not all helmets are created equal. Smith has been a leader of innovation in helmet technology, and it shows when you put one on your head. They’re comfortable, they look good, and they’re genuinely safe. With MIPS technology in most of their helmets, you’re less likely to get a concussion, your helmet will last you longer through multiple impacts, and you can feel confident that you’ll be alright should you crash, or should somebody else crash into you. The Smith Vantage MIPS for men and women is one of their best sellers, and has been for a while. Seamless integration with goggles under the brim means no awkward goggle gap, and an adjustable fit system that actually works means a solid fit for your head in particular.
Poles are a great gift for any beginner skier or beyond. They’re easy to pick, don’t have a ton of features to choose between, and aren’t going to put too much of a strain on your wallet. Scott has been making poles for a long time from the world cup level all the way down to the rental shop. They know a thing or two about making poles that won’t break or bend, that feel good in your hand, and that do their job in the snow. It’s not rocket science, they’re just good poles. Check out the Decree Pole for men, and the MJ Pole for women.
A quick note on pole sizing: poles are measured in either inches or centimeters depending on the brand. In order to measure the right length for you, you’ll want to measure from your hand down to the floor with your elbow at 90 degrees, like it would be while holding the handle of a ski pole. When in doubt, go a little large rather than a little small to account for how much of the pole will sink into the snow.
10. A Beanie
Last but definitely not least, no skier can ever have enough beanies to wear during the winter months. Before, after, or under the helmet, a soft and comfortable beanie is always nice, and they make a great gift. Coal makes tons of great hats, both summer and winter, but their beanies seriously rock. Super comfortable and warm, they don’t make your head itch or shed material like some cheap woven hats do. They’ve got tons of cool colors, and they’ll work for anybody. Check out the Squad Beanie for an awesome hat at an awesome price.
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Still need help finding the perfect gift? Chat with any of us here at Curated! We'll help you out with free advice and recommendations. We also offer the option of a Curated gift card which can be used towards making a winter sports purchase with free expert help finding the right gear for your skier's needs.