Assuming the older skiers on your holiday lists have been good this year, here are some gift-giving suggestions ranging from renting an entire resort ($10,000) to a small crowd-funded device that helps find lost skis and snowboards ($77) to a slippery sheet of bendable plastic that eases the task of fitting foot into boot ($9.95).
Eagle Point Resort is a high elevation, Southern Utah ski resort sporting 1,500 vertical feet and an average of 400 inches of snow -- much of it Utah's legendary powder. The entire resort is available for private midweek rental from January through early April. It is 3.5 hours from Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. Private jets can land in nearby Beaver. Rental fee includes lift tickets, equipment rentals and resort staff for up to 200 people. Lessons, lodging, food and beverage are ala carte. Cost: $10,000 per day.
Start in Warm Boots
My gift of choice is a heated boot bag. Nothing is as nice as starting the day without fighting stiff plastic shells. When your boots are warm, your feet are comfortable, and you ski better. The Athalon Amped heated boot bag has built-in car and wall plugs, as well as a clever helmet holder and a variety of storage pockets. Hideaway shoulder straps let it be carried like a backpack. This is one piece of lightweight luggage that every older skier will appreciate. Cost: $180.
Peace of Mind
Spot is the 4 oz. personal tracking device that, with the push of a button, lets family and friends know you're OK or sends emergency responders your GPS location. Using satellite technology, it works from land, air and sea, anywhere on the globe to deliver peace of mind for anyone in the out of doors and their loved ones back home. Cost: $149.95 plus service plan.
Finding Lost or Stolen Skis
From the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo comes this terrific item that, if it acts as advertised, will keep powder hounds of any age from the aggravation of searching for buried skis and boards. The NeverLose is a lightweight device that emits a loud sound from buried skis and sends a signal from stolen equipment to the owner's cell phone. It works with skis, boards, and bikes. The NeverLose will ship in January. Cost: $77 (two units, plus shipping/handling).
Comfy Feet = Longer Days
Compression hosiery designed for ski boots deliver on the promise of contributing to more energy, consequently, more time on the mountain. CEP, the German manufacturer of high-end performance-enhancing garments, has compression hose that promote increased oxygen supply and are padded to enhance boot comfort. Personal experience confirms the manufacturer's claim that throughout the day, feet and legs feel energized. Cost: $50-$60 (depending on style).
Coffee Table Eye-Candy
Boarders in the know are aware of Jeremy Jones, the cerebral, world-class big-mountain boarder who ascends great heights to descend remote pitches inaccessible to common earthlings. His newly published account of six years of adventure has fascinating images and journal entries that take you to the essence of being there. No Words for the Way Down was published by Teton Gravity Research, the outdoor adventure film company started by Jeremy's brothers. Cost: $59.95 (including Blu-Ray disc).
Better Wine Bottle
The WineGrowler is a 750 mL ,double-wall, vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottle that keeps wine at the perfect temperature--all day long. It's available in tasty wine colors (Chardonnay Silver, Shiraz Red, Champaign Gold, etc.). A great container for picnics and apres ski. Cost: $25.
Never Drop an iPhone from the Chair
Each spring, patrollers find smart phones accidentally dropped from chair lifts during the season. The Highline by Kenu is a security leash and protective phone case that keeps phone secure when taking pictures or checking a favorite ski app. The case attaches to any zipper pull via coiled Kevlar leash. The leash conveniently clips on and off most iPhones. Cost: $29.95.
Breathe with Ease
Physical exertion and elevation can tax older lungs. Mini portable oxygen canisters are a thoughtful gift for seniors who like to play in the snow. Oxygen Plus offers attractive pocket-sized canisters delivering plain and flavored oxygen. Cost: $24 (3-pack).
For most skiers the effort of putting on ski boots increases with age. A game-changer in the form of a specially-designed sheet of slippery plastic, removes the effort -- even with cold, stiff boots. The SkiBootHorn is a practical, inexpensive, much-appreciated stocking stuffer. Cost: $9.95.