Ski Rocker vs Ski Camber: A Skier's Guide

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The Real Skier’s Gift Guide

Treat your favorite ripper to one of our favorite gifts this holiday season.


Osprey Kode 32

No backpack we’ve found is more versatile than the Osprey Kode 32. It’s marketed as a technical backcountry snowplay pack, but can be used truly for anything. It’s perfect for hike-to inbounds terrain as well as an all day backcountry outing. Two compartments keep your avalanche gear (or snacks) separate from your extra layers. There is a separate goggle pocket and a stretchy mesh to carry your helmet. We love that the Kode 32 has an internal hydration compartment and various options for carrying skis, plus it doubles as a great summer hiking pack. $149; ospreypacks.com

Osprey Kode 32 (2)

Aether Fusion Shell

We love this jacket because of its innovative design and modern fabric technology. The 3-layer plain-weave fabric adjusts its breathability depending on conditions. For example, the fabric’s membrane opens to allow heat to escape during high activity and it contracts to maximize heat retention during inactivity. Basically, you are comfortable both going up the mountain, and coming down. The fit allows for an extended range of motion which we love and the Fusion Shell pairs perfectly with the Fusion Pant. $675, Fusion Shell; $425 Fusion Pant; aetherapparel.com

Aether Fusion Shell

BCA Tracker3

Beacons don’t get any more intuitive than the Tracker 3, and now this backcountry staple is getting a whole lot smaller. Touted as the thinnest multi-antenna beacon on the market, and weighing 20 percent less than its predecessor, new Tracker 3 is going to be the new standard issue for ski patrollers and weekend warriors alike. We also love how efficient it is handling either single or multi-burial searches. $335; backcountryaccess.com

BCA Tracker3_angle

Scarpa Freedom SL

A four-buckle boot with a 120 flex may sound like an alpine-only boot, but the Freedom SL offers a lot more versatility since it’s compatible with alpine or tech bindings. It boasts a carbon-fiber frame and “Ride Power Block” technology, which locks solid for descents, but the hinge still delivers 27-degree range of motion for uphill travel. The women’s version has a gender-specific last while both models have sweet Intuition liners and interchangeable Vibram soles. $779; scarpa.com

Scarpa Freedom

Marker Kingpin 13

If you want the solid feeling of an alpine binding with tour-friendly tech features, outfit your sidecountry skis with the new Marker Kingpin 13. As the first tech binding to offer a certified DIN safety release, the 3-pound Kingpin has a tech toe, flat tour mode and two risers for steep ascents. It’s the coolest hybrid of alpine and side-to-backcountry bindings we’ve seen yet. $649; markerusa.com

Voormi HIGH-E Hoodie

The HIGH-E hoodie is the focal point of the Voormi collection. The Rocky Mountain High Country Merino Wook is comfortable yet efficient. The outer surface layer is water repellent all while maintaining stretch and coziness. We love that the piece can be worn as a mid-layer, or an outer layer depending on the day and weather conditions. The piece is made in Colorado and available for men and women. $229;voormi.com

Voormi (Men)

Dakine Boot Pack

Dakine’s Boot Pack keep your boots toasty and dry, and comes with space for your other pieces—there are pockets for goggles, helmet, gloves and extra layers. Our favorite part is the tarp-lined boot compartment that keeps wet boots separate from your dry goods on the way home. $65; dakine.com

Dakine Bootpack

Custom Skis

Sure, we’re biased, but we’re still convinced: What could bring more holiday stoke than a one-of-a-kind ski built exactly like you want it? We’ll help your giftee settle on the best waist width, sidecut, length, flex, and shape for them, then carefully build their ski by hand with premium materials in our green facility outside of Telluride. And as for what goes on the topsheet, the only limit is their imagination. Cubist space monkey bacon-missile barrage? Yes, we can do that. Skis start around $1,750;wagnerskis.com

A CMH Heli Ski Trip

And if you really want to set a new bar this season, here’s the nuclear option: a spot on a Bell 212 helicopter. CMH has been the gold standard for heli-skiing for the last 50 years. Opt for a “signature trip” for 3-7 days of powder-lapping classic spots in the Bugaboos, Gothics, or Revelstoke area in a group of up to 11, or sign up with your own crew to explore the “Nomad” program in a private chopper, all based out of one of CMH’s 11 backcountry lodges. Pete Wagner’s favorite tree skiing is at the CMH Galena Lodge. Trips start around $3,700 for four days. canadianmountainholidays.com