Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gifts for the ski mountaineering racer in your family

What to get that ski mountaineering racer in your family? The one who has to explain his sport to anyone who cares to listen. Salespeople at your typical ski shop might not be aware of the unique demands of the sport, so I have provided a list of some items I think will be welcome for most racers. Or you could ring the credit card through

Black Diamond Gold Label Glue $10-$12 : Great for everything from touching up the glue on tailless race skins all the way up to a full reglue. It's such good glue that it's banned for sale in Europe due to the solvents it contains! Don't let the salesperson talk you into the "glue renew sheets" or any other glue, there is no alternative! Literature $25-$50: Rumour has it that Kilian Jornet once bought the Manual for Ski Mountaineering Racing so even the most seasoned racer can pick up a couple of pointers. Newly released is the 12 week training plan.

Socks! $20 and up: Always a welcome gift to replace crusty and worn out old ones. Thinner side is preferred, and make sure to get the right size. Merino wool is nice. Dissent Labs is the only option if your giftee is trying to fit in with the Whistler crew. 

Race Nutrition $20 and up: Endurance athletes will do anything for cheap race fuel, even going so far as to represent obscure start-up nutrition companies for a discount. Save them the hassle and buy them a box of Gu/Hammer/Powerbar gels and/or drink mix.

GPS/Heart rate watch: Not so much for keeping from getting lost but for tracking training and realizing how vastly inferior they are to Kilian Jornet and Anton Palzer who are racking up 4000m vertical days. There's a good deal on the Garmin Forerunner 920XT from Amazon right now.

Missing Items from the pack $50-$200: Okay, so they've got the skis/boots/bindings, the pack, what about:
  • Helmet: Dual climb and ski certified helmet required for ISMF international races starting this season.
  • Gloves: Any glove may do, but the CAMP Comp G Wind gloves seems to keep my hands at the right temperature and comes with a pullover wind cover. Designed for skimo, so they will keep your hands kinda dry, and not leave fabric on the skins.
  • CAMP crest shovel: Not an avalanche shovel, but meets the minimum requirements for being left in the pack during races.
  • Windbreaker top and bottom. Top of the line, extremely lightweight jackets and pants weigh about 125grams each, though something more reasonable within 50grams is acceptable for an item that lives in the race pack. Nice for warming up in as well.

Avalanche Centre donation $?: The guys going out everyday to gather information to keep your loved one safe. More applicable for those not in the Rocky Mountain Parks (those bulletins are provided by Parks Canada/Alberta).

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