Nordic Tracks: Great gift ideas for a Nordic skier | Cross-country skiing
What are you giving a cross-country skier for Christmas? It depends on the skier’s age, skill level and interests. The needs of a beginner skier will be different from those of a long-term Nordic skier. How much are you willing to spend? You can spend anywhere from $ 5 on hand warmers to $ 500 and up on new skis or boots. What is available is the third factor. Where do you buy Nordic gifts?
The first place to look for gifts is a local Nordic center. Since we have six in our area – Bear Notch, Bretton Woods, Great Glen Trails, Jackson, King Pine, and Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring – you don’t have to go far. These are the best places to look for the right gift. Their staff are competent and creative and they specialize in everything Nordic.
Gorham Bike and Ski is another place to shop for cross country ski gifts.
Formerly located at the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, the new year-round store is located at 1881 White Mountain Highway, North Conway. They have a whole selection of Nordic, alpine and off-piste equipment, as well as clothing and accessories. If your Nordic skier is a cyclist, he also has equipment and clothing for this pursuit.
LL Bean, REI and EMS also have items and equipment suitable for Nordic skiers. Sun and Ski, Stan and Dan’s, and Sports Outlet have crossover gifts, perfect for downhill or backcountry skiers.
Check out the New England Ski Museum gift shop in North Conway, near Schouler Park. It’s full of articles related to skiing. Just down the street, White Birch Books is also a great place to find ski-themed books and calendars. You don’t have to look far in this valley to find gifts that cross-country skiers appreciate.
Online shopping is also an option, but I prefer to buy locally. I like to get ideas from the displays and staff of the Valley. If I’m having trouble finding an item locally, I’ll check out Akers Ski (akers-ski.com), Wolfeboro’s Nordic ski site: nordicskierssports.com, and other online sites specializing in Nordic equipment.
What to buy for your cross-country ski friend or family member? Think about what they need first and enjoy it. If you are unsure, a gift certificate from a local store is always a welcome gift. A skier can use it to choose equipment and accessories, purchase piste passes, or register for lessons or clinics. If their gear needs attention, they could apply it to a ski tune-up as well.
If you are purchasing ski equipment for a Nordic skier such as skis, poles or boots, make sure you know the person’s weight, height, and shoe size, as well as the type of skiing they are on. Better yet, take the skier with you to be evaluated by knowledgeable store staff. This takes the guesswork out of buying.
Waxing tools and supplies are always helpful. This can range from a waxing bench and waxing iron to scrapers, brushes and sharpening tools. A Swix outdoor wax thermometer is both useful and decorative. This gives your skier an idea of what wax to use. Even though it’s configured with old-fashioned wax colors – fleece, green, blue, purple, and red – the skier can still see the temperature range outside.
Waxes, F-4 and Maxi-glide are popular with skiers looking to improve the performance of their ski in all types of snow. The wax remover also makes it easier to remove old wax and put on a new one. There are so many to choose from today, it’s best to consult with the Nordic store staff for suggestions for your skier.
“Ski accessories” are a broad category with many options. My list ranges from ski sleeves and ski bags for keeping skis together, to gear bags for clothes and boots. This category includes belts or backpacks for carrying hiking equipment. To go into these packs, insulated water bottles, hand warmers, foot warmers, lip balm, sunscreen, F-4 or Maxi-glide sachets and energy snacks are all part of the package. my shopping list. For the adventurous skier who could stay outside after dark, a headlamp is always a good gift.
Warm, versatile clothing is always welcome, but beware, Nordic skiers can be picky dressers! A gift certificate for these items allows them to choose their own.
Starting at the bottom, Nordic skiers can always use warm socks. Insulated and moisture-wicking long underwear briefs, bottoms and tops keep the skier warm and dry. Ski pants, tops, jackets and vests help the skier prepare for the weather. I find those designed for backcountry skiing or cold weather cycling work best for cross country skiers. They don’t need weight or bulk to stay warm in this highly aerobic activity.
Hats, gloves, balaclavas, neck warmers and sunglasses complete the outfit. Nordic skiers can never get enough. Different weights and styles can match their time, mood and clothing.
Another option for donating equipment and accessories is to give the Nordic skier information on the techniques, history, destinations and equipment of cross-country skiing. Ski lessons are one in-person way to do this, but books, magazines, and online lessons are other ways to expand your knowledge. Visit your local bookstore or ski shop to see what they have on offer for books and magazines.
One of my favorite ski books is “Cross Country Skiing for Fun and Fitness” by Steve Hindman. It has good information for novices to experts. “Two boards and one passion” by Roland Huntford is an excellent book on the history of skiing. I recently purchased “Trail to Gold, The Journey of 53 Women Skiers” and look forward to reading the experiences of American Olympic cross-country skiers from 1972 to 2018. Included in this group is our own local Olympian, Sue (Long ) Wemyss!
Children also love books on skiing! My grandchildren loved “Cross Country Cat” by Mary Calhoun and “Learn to Ski with Mr. Magee” by Chris Van Dusen.
Magazine subscriptions are also a good way to keep your Nordic skier up to date on equipment, techniques and where to go. I put “Cross Country Skier”, the “Journal of Nordic Skiing” (crosscountryskier.com) on my wishlist every year. Your cross-country skier, whether expert or novice, will find articles of interest there.
Online subscriptions to Nordic education sites are useful for teaching and reinforcing the techniques of a Nordic skier. I have been a subscriber for years to a Canadian site “Nordic Ski Lab”. This is one of the best online instructional sites I’ve seen, with short videos and commentary to work on specific skills. I often use it myself as a teaching tool. Find out (nordicskilab.com). The annual subscription is only $ 33. There is also a monthly subscription option for $ 25.
Whether you’re shopping for gifts for kids or adults, beginners or expert cross-country skiers, think about what will make their skiing experience better. If you’re not sure what your skier needs or wants, gift certificates are always a great gift.
Hopefully with this new snow we will soon be able to cross-country ski. Do your Nordic skier Christmas shopping in advance and hit the slopes!
Great Glen Trails, Saturday, December 11 at 1 p.m. Trail to Gold book event and signature on Saturday, December 11 at 1 p.m. with Great Glen Trails Ski School Director and Olympian Sue Wemyss.
Sally McMurdo is currently a cross-country ski instructor with the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation. For nearly four decades, she explored the groomed and ungroomed trails of New England on all manner of skis.