Skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports with expensive equipment, but inexpensive gifts for your favorite snow addict are easy to find. And, just for fun, give a gift that can bring the thrill of the slopes to their workplace all year.
Personal Care Gifts: Give a cheap gift that says you want them to survive on the slopes.
Wrist braces are tops on my list as an inexpensive personal care gift for snowboarders. For $20-$40 you can minimize your friend’s or loved one’s chances of a season-ending busted wrist.
All snow sports enthusiasts need personal care supplies that are never in the right place when they are needed. Buy an outrageous quantity of one thing, or make a survival kit with a few of everything stuffed into a cheap makeup case. Wrap them individually in scraps of pretty paper. Stuff them into a stocking, hang them on the tree or pile them in a gift bag. Shiny! Lots of shiny things to unwrap!
Lip Balm: Until there is a tube of lip balm in every pocket of every jacket and gear bag no skier or snowboarder has enough lip balm. Search at Google for “bulk-pack lip balm” and see what shows up, or check your favorite drugstore. I found a 12-pack of Sport Natural Ice Medicated Lip Protectant with SPF 30 for only $13, and the Burt’s Bees “Lip Stash Classic” pack with 3 tubes and one tin of lip balm for $7. Balm with sunscreen is better than balm without.
Sunscreen: Buy the biggest bottle of no-name brand SPF 30 or higher sunscreen you can find. Add a small box of sunscreen single-use packets or a sunscreen stick for wiping on extra protection on the slopes.
Facial Tissues: Cold air makes your nose run, and tissues are seldom in the jacket you are wearing. Buy a bulk box of a couple dozen pocket-sized packs of tissues, or a couple of pocket-sized cases that can be refilled with regular sized tissues. Buy enough for every pocket of every jacket. Again, Google is your friend, or visit a janitor supply business for a bulk pack of pocket-sized tissues.
Gear Protection Gifts: The only way to keep small gear from getting lost is to put it on a leash that is firmly attached to a large piece of clothing like a jacket.
Keychains with a leash and clip will prevent the long wait for the expensive locksmith, and the more expensive replacement key. Keys sink into the snow and are never seen again.
Gloves often come with “idiot cords”, a leash that loops around the wearer’s wrist. When the idiot removes a glove to adjust some gear, the glove dangles by the cord until the idiot puts it back on. Without the cord, the idiot will ski or board on down the hill, or drop the glove off the lift. Although many brands of gloves come with built-in leashes, I could not find glove leashes sold as after-market items, which means someone is missing a business opportunity. Firefighters use a glove holder to keep gloves with their jackets. It’s not the same as an idiot cord, but you might think it’s useful.
Sunglasses can be secured by a leash that slips over the end of the earpieces. There is even a leash that doubles as a sunglasses carry case and cleaning cloth.
Give a lip balm holder on a lanyard or with a loop for attaching to a lanyard to keep the lip balm where it is easy to use. Search Google for “balm cozies” or “lip balm holders”. They are a popular craft item, and come in leather, glitter crochet, plain crochet, felt, or fake fur with googly eyes.
Cell phones that are dropped from lifts or that fall pout of pockets in a fall are seldom recovered. Find a cellphone holder with a lanyard ring. You get bonus points if you can find one that lets the caller use the phone without taking it out of the case. Test the holder by tugging the lanyard ring to make sure it won’t fall off if it snags on the lift chair.
Gifts for off the slopes: despair.com, the maker of wonderfully depressing demotivational posters and office accessories has four choices featuring skiers and boarders: Humiliation, Regret, Incompetence and Overconfidence. Depending on the image, you can order a laptop skin, poster or calendar for $20-30. You can even create a custom calendar and get 4 mini-posters.