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The best snow and winter sports gear to gift this year

·Senior Editor
·6-min read

Whether you’re serious about snow sports, or a weekend resort-goer, there’s always more ways to get the most out of your time on the mountain. Apps and gadgets that keep track of your laps around the resort can help you up your game, no matter your skill level. And gear to protect your phone and can keep an epic powder day from turning into “the day you dropped your phone off a chairlift.”

Or, you can give my favorite gift: the gift of heat. Because as much as I love a day on the mountain, I hate being cold. You can layer up all you want, but some gear really benefits from an extra, battery-powered boost of heat.

Burton Toaster boot liners

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The only thing worse than cold fingers are cold toes — especially when you're strapped into snowboard bindings. Burton’s Toaster boot liners might look like the typical boot lines, but they have tiny built in heaters that can keep your toes warm and, even more importantly, dry, for up to five hours at a time. The liners come in mens and women’s sizes, and are meant to be compatible with any existing Burton boot, so you can upgrade your existing setup without buying a whole new pair.

Buy Burton Toaster boot liners at Backcountry - $100

Hangtime Gear Koala smartphone harness

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

At least half my time spent on the mountain is riding chairlifts (thanks, Slopes), which means I inevitably pull out my phone on the lift against my better judgment. I have yet to drop it, though I’ve had a few uncomfortably close calls. That’s where Hangtime Gear’s Koala harness comes in. Simply strap your phone into the harness and clip the leash to a pocket or backpack strap. The extendable leash will give you plenty of slack to take a selfie or pick up a call but will keep your phone from plummeting to an icy death if you accidentally let go.

Buy Koala smartphone harness at Hangtime Gear - $25

Kivetai half face mask

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

This may not be the most attractive accessory, but I like this cheap fleece mask better than any other ski mask I’ve tried. The half-mask design means it’s easy to get on and off without messing with your helmet, and the built in ear flaps keep it in place while keeping your ears nice and toasty. I started wearing mine last year when many resorts were requiring guests to mask up in lift lines due to COVID-19. I wasn’t disappointed: the fleece was way more comfortable than the standard cloth or surgical mask, which are pretty miserable in cold or wet conditions. But after wearing it for an entire season, I’m ready to ditch all my other ski masks for good and keep this in my ski bag for seasons to come.

Buy half face mask at Amazon - $11

Ministry of Supply Mercury jacket

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

At $500, Ministry of Supply’s Mercury Jacket is definitely one of the pricier pieces of outerwear you can buy, but it’s much more than just a jacket. The Mercury has three, strategically placed carbon fiber heating elements woven into the lining of the jacket. Plug in the included battery back, turn the power switch on — yes, the jacket has a power switch — and they’ll warm up to provide a steady source of cozy heat. That may not sound like something you need every day, but the Mercury is surprisingly versatile. It’s insulated and looks good enough on its own that you can wear it on warmer days, but the heater means you can keep it on even when conditions get colder.

Buy Mercury jacket at Ministry of Supply - $500

Outdoor Research Gripper gloves

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re looking for a high-performance winter glove, it doesn’t get any better than the wind and waterproof Gore-Tex. But while Gore-Tex can keep you dry, it’s not the warmest material, which is why Gore-Tex gloves often come with extra liners for added insulation. But double gloving can be a pain, and sometimes even two gloves isn’t enough to keep the tips of your fingers from going numb. Outdoor Research’s Gripper gloves provides the best of both: Gore-Tex gloves with built-in, adjustable heaters. If that’s too spendy, or you just need a lighter-weight spring glove, we’re also big fans of TrailHeads’ Convertible Mittens. Part fingerless glove, part mitten, the gloves are surprisingly warm considering their lighter weight, and the unique hybrid design makes them easy to get on and off in a pinch.

Buy Gripper gloves at Outdoor Research - $200 Buy TraiHeads mittens at Amazon - $34

Phoozy Apollo Thermal Case

Phoozy
Phoozy

We all know cold weather is hard on our batteries, and sometimes, even your warmest pockets aren’t insulated enough to save them. Enter Phoozy’s Apollo thermal case: the insulated pouch will keep your phone from getting too cold and should significantly extend your battery life in cold conditions. Better yet, the reflective material — supposedly inspired by the spacesuits worn by astronauts — can also protect your phone from excessive heat so it can be a year round accessory.

Buy thermal phone case at Amazon - $30

Skeo Snowcookie sensor

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re serious about leveling up your skiing abilities, Skeo’s Snowcookie sensor can help you get there. The kit comes with three battery powered sensors: one to wear on a chest harness and one for each ski. The sensors pair to an app on your phone and measure a range of metrics from the angles of your skis and your hips to how your weight is distributed across your skis. When you’re done on the mountain, the app will break down your technique with a detailed analysis and tips for improving.

Buy Snowcookie sensor at Skeo - $449

Slopes Premium

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Slopes has been my go-to app anytime I’m on a mountain for years. Start the ski-tracking app before your first chair and the app records stats like speed and elevation as you ski or board. At the end of the day, the app creates a summary of your day with all your stats. If you want to go deeper, you can even watch a replay of all your runs overlaid onto a resort map so you can see exactly what you did. Even if you only make it out a few times a year, Slopes is a great way to track your season and relive your best days on the mountain year-round.

Buy Slopes Premium (1 year) - $25

Engadget's 2021 holiday gift guide

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The best tech toys for kids

Seven tech charities to support this holiday season

The home theater gear worth gifting this year (even if the giftee is you)

The best smartwatches, fitness trackers and wearables to gift

The best board games to gift this holiday season

Small, affordable gadgets that make great stocking stuffers

The best gifts for the aspiring influencer in your life

The best gifts for the coffee nerd in your life

All the gear you need to game-stream like a pro

These are the audio gadgets to gift this season

The best digital gifts to send your friends and family

The books and movies we’re gifting this year

The video games we wish someone would gift us

The best gadgets for your pets

Smart home gadgets and kitchen tech that make great gifts

The best gifts for the creatives in your life

The best snow and winter sports gear to gift this year

All the 'fun' gifts our grown-up staff would like to receive

The best gear to give to the photographer in your life

Everything in our gift guide under $100

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