Gear of the Year: Five items you won’t want to live without

Tom Winter | Boulder Weekly

Christmas is coming, but the ski and snowboard season has already started. Regardless of whether you’re celebrating the start of winter, adding a few “special” items to that gift list, stoking out a friend with an early December birthday or rewarding yourself, here’s where to start your shopping list.

POC Was sunglasses $139 (

Skiers of a certain era (there were no snowboarders back then) remember a time when white framed sunglasses were everywhere.

And through their rose-colored lenses, skiing looked pretty good: bikini babes in hot tubs, Playboy bunny shoots in Aspen and decadent evenings in slope-side condos were the order of the day.

Times have changed, but POC does an amazing job of channeling the hippest style of those halcyon days in the updated Was sunglasses, which feature modern technology like their NTX lenses. Developed for the armed forces, these lenses can withstand 1/4inch steel projectiles shot at the lens at a velocity of 150 feet per second.

Contour Roam Digital Camera $200 (

The latest offering from Contour is the versatile and easy-to-use Roam. With an instant on switch and the ability to shoot high definition (1080 pixels) video, the Roam can mount anywhere from a helmet to the end of a ski pole.

These combined attributes make the Roam the best choice for shooting point-of-view videos this year. Or point it at a friend and hope they do something crazy.

Liberty Skis Genome $770 (

An ultra-light bamboo/poplar core, full rocker and outrageous graphics make these skis hard to miss in the lift line. And they are hard to miss, with a footprint that clocks in at 170-141-156. But while the numbers are huge — and these skis are fat — Liberty’s Genome is an amazingly nimble powder tool that handles Colorado’s deepest storms. Give the powderhound in your family the ultimate ride when you put these under the tree at Christmas, but don’t be surprised if you end up getting yourself your own pair. They’re just that good.

Discrete Beanie $10-$30 (

The ultimate stocking stuffer, Discrete is the brainchild of pro skiers Julian Carr and Billy Poole.

While unfortunately Poole isn’t with us anymore, Discrete still is. With a fantastic array of styles and colors, the hats are worn by many of the best skiers and riders on the mountain.

Pick up one for yourself or give one as a gift to a friend and endow them with the powers of the powder kings who preceded them.