Whether you’re scurrying from store to store making your list and checking it twice or casting that list aside for a little time on the slopes, with these three holiday gifts, you’ll be able to stay warm and connected through the winter.
ColdAvenger Pro Softshell
Ducking behind cover, I cursed the oncoming winter that had fogged my goggles leaving me blind. A moment later, as I struggled to see through the opaque visor, a paintball pegged me in the ribs, and I slumped off the field. If I had been wearing the ColdAvenger Pro Softshell, it’s possible I wouldn’t have fake died on the fake battlefield that day. The half-mask covers the mouth and nose with a ventilation system that mixes incoming cold air with the hot air we exhale. When the two mix, it increases the temperature within the mask by a reported 40° F to 60° F when compared to the temperature outside. Designed for heli-ski trips and treks around the Antarctic—where prolonged exposure to sub-zero temperatures can cause exhaustion and damage to your airways—the ColdAvenger Pro also provides benefits for more routine winter activities. Aside from keeping you comfortably warm, the ventilator collects moisture and keeps it off your face, decreasing the likelihood of foggy goggles. Additionally, the decreased strain on your airways could help some asthmatics endure the harsh air for longer periods. The half-mask—cut below the eyes—won’t interfere with most goggles and helmets and the material is made of a water-repellent fabric insulated with fleece to protect against wind and snow. With most neck gaiters and bataclavas ranging between $20 and $40, there’s no reason not to fork over a little more cash and grab the ColdAvenger Pro Softshell for $60. Plus, when Halloween comes around your Bane costume is almost complete. Talusoutdoor.com.
Voice Communicating Ski Goggles
Now that the ColdAvenger has you warm and dry, you’re going to need a good pair of goggles for those downhill slaloms. Until Google releases an Android-powered ski goggle, the next best thing is Hammacher Schlemmer’s Bluetooth-enabled goggles that allow up to six users to keep in contact. The self-contained system works across a range of up to 1,600 feet and comes with two sets of earbuds—standard and under-helmet models. So you don’t pick up the rush of wind as you careen down the hill, voice communication is handled by a bone conduction microphone—neat little tech that essentially reads the vibrations in bones created by the sound of your voice. Users can also pair the goggles with their smartphone to listen to music or answer incoming calls via large, easy-to-push buttons on the side of the goggles. Though a little pricey at $300 a pair, the goggles handle about 12 hours of talk time on one charge and feature an anti-fog, anti-scratch mirror coated lens designed to keep out 100 percent of UV rays. Hammacher.com.
If we’re honest with ourselves, the majority of our winter activities don’t require goggles and a breathing device—regardless of how cool we’d look wearing them to work every day. Most of the time gloves and a good scarf will get you through the day. The Peepsnake is an ingenious scarf that not only holds and protects your smartphone while you rush around in the snow; it allows you to use the device without making it vulnerable to the elements through an iPhone-shaped window—though large enough for most smartphones—made of a clear, conductive plastic. For that snowy panorama shot, the reverse side has a clear window for your phone’s camera. Ranging from $48–$54, the soft fleece scarf also has a second pocket on the opposite end. Don’t worry, though. If you don’t want everyone to know you haven’t bought the new iPhone 5, it’s easy to conceal all of the pockets—and your embarrassingly non-hip phone. Peepsnake.com.