We can't wait to include SHRED DOG's 2018 boys winter jackets, girls winter jackets, ski pants, and more in a holiday gift guide next year but, for now, ski season has kicked off and the 2017 holiday season is in full swing so we thought we'd share some gear we like this year and that will also complement SHRED DOG apparel next year!
This list is based on the same dynamics that are driving the SHRED DOG brand. Kids have specific needs and also grow so fast that good gear can get prohibitively expensive. Wholesale-to-Consumer pricing is still relatively new to the industry and we will include those brands where we find them but, otherwise, will recommend what we see as the best value possible.
Note that this list includes a few product recommendations in a handful of categories but is not a detailed buyer's guide of what features to look for and how to compare brands. We've included links to some other good blog posts for those details below.
Kids Skis & Snowboards
It might be odd to start a holiday gift list with a recommendation to not buy anything but, especially for younger kids, our recommendation is actually to rent gear given the high prices and lack of Wholesale-to-Consumer priced options on the market. To avoid the hassle of the rental shop each time, look for a local shop that does full season rentals. Usually very affordable and you can swap out sizes mid-year if needed. But for those looking to buy, we do like these two products:
For skis, the Atomic Punx Jr III is a great all-mountain ski for kids that have advanced beyond the bunny hill.
For snowboards, it's hard to beat Burton and, in particular, the Burton Chopper is a great board to learn on. Soft flex for easy turns and their Easy Rider turned up edges reduce the chance of the inevitable edge-catch-faceplants we all loved while learning to ride!
Ski Boots for Kids
Boots need to fit, of course, but for the youngest kids, we think a lot of boots on the market can work fine. But there are two big challenges with kids boots that can start the day off, umm, on the wrong foot: forcing them onto little feet in the morning followed by the slow trudge of trying to walk in them. So, two recommendations:
The Rossignol Comp J1 offers a single buckle, rear-entry style, making it easier to get boots on and off of your little ones (their J3 is a 3-buckle but also good). And while far pricer, the Salomon QST Access 70T has a cool feature to unlock the heel for easy walking.
Traction Grips for Ski Boots and Winter Boots
To make walking in any boot easier, there are a number of brands making traction grips for walking from the parking lot to the lift. Cat Tracks are very popular and also check out a newer brand Ski Skootys. They say one size fits all but may only work well for bigger kids. Also for everyday boots and playing outside, another option is Stabilicers.
Ski and Snowboard Helmets for Kids
There are a number of helmet features that adults and older kids care about but, for younger kids, beyond construction (safety) and fit (even a great helmet that is too big is a safety risk), we like brands with a lot of color options at a reasonable price. For that reason, we like the Lucky Bums helmet for beginners (inexpensive and lots of color choices). For more protection including MIPS technology, take a look at the Giro Nine MIPS. And for even more options, check out the reviews by familyskier.com here.
Best Ski and Snowboard Goggles for Kids
In addition to a flexible frames for fit and safety, anti-fogging, UV protection, and condition-specific lens tinting, one thing to look for is a good fit with the helmet you choose (not just to avoid the social faux pas of "gaper gap" but also to prevent cold air from blasting the forehead). The Anon Tracker is a cool kids goggle with lots of color options and good performance. Another brand that does not yet make kids sizes but we recommend the parents checking out is Glade Optics. Founded on the same Wholesale-to-Consumer pricing model as SHRED DOG, I'm hoping there will be a pair of these under the tree for me to try out this season!
Great Ski Gloves for Kids (and Parents)
Gloves is another category where we want to see more Wholesale-to-Consumer priced options given high prices from traditional brands (as you know we co-design with families so, based on your input, gloves could be a future product from SHRED DOG). Today, though, cold, wet fingers are a problem for kids in the snow and our favorite glove on the market is Hestra Gloves. Expensive, but great quality.
To help everyone in the #shreddogpack community, we'd love to get your thoughts on these products and other gear recommendations you have in the comments below.
Happy Holiday shopping from SHRED DOG!
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