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Archive for December, 2010

Cruising Australia’s Kimberley Coast

Friday, December 31st, 2010

This week we’re excited to hear about Kimberley Australia from Chris Harter, operations manager at AdventureSmith Explorations, who has the hard job of giving his company’s trips a test-drive. He has been a North Lake Tahoe resident for the past 7 years.

WHO: Chris and Alanna Harter, along with the few dozen other like-minded travelers/passengers and an outstanding crew

WHAT: An 11-day active expedition cruise with hikes, zodiac rides, snorkeling and explorations from the incredible M/S Orion

WHERE: The remote Kimberley coast of northwest Australia between Broome and Cairns

WHEN: April 2010

GEAR: Platypus Big Zip SL 3.0L, Osprey Manta 20 Hydration Pack, Chaco Z2 Sandals, Kuhl Eiger Shorts, Smith Proof Sunglasses

The Kimberley region in Northwest Australia is to Australia what Alaska is to the United States. Both are vast territories considered the “last frontier” of their respective countries. Both are incredibly remote with little infrastructure due to their location, climate and topography. Both hold few year-round modern settlements while still managing to have rich cultures and histories with their ancient indigenous populations. Both environments have prolific and varied marine and terrestrial wildlife populations. And because of the lack of roads and incredible coastlines, both are ideally suited for travel by vessel. Aside from all of these similarities, Australia’s Kimberley and the United State’s 49th state are about as different as two places can be. Earlier this year I was privileged enough to see the rugged and awesome wilderness landscape of the Kimberley on an 11-day expedition voyage all from the luxurious appointments of our company’s newest partner ship, the M/S Orion.

Our first night in Australia found us in the remote mining and pearling outpost of Broome, where we were able to enjoy fantastic seafood, a jog on famous 10-mile Cable Beach and an afternoon wandering through the charming downtown for a look at the aboriginal and frontier influences that made the town what it is today. Upon boarding the vessel in Broome we immediately got underway heading north for Cape Leveque, the last road-accessible location we would see for the next week. After getting settled, and with drinks in hand we all made our way to one of the upper decks to witness the first of many breathtaking at sea sunsets before heading down for an incredible five course dinner, an evening theme that carried on throughout the trip.

After a gorgeous al fresco breakfast start to our first morning aboard, we boarded the small fleet of inflatable zodiac vessels for a shuttle to the endless beach waiting for us at Cape Leveque. Greeting us as we arrived, a small group of playful and inquisitive bottlenose dolphins circled our zodiac at the request of our naturalist guide with a whistle and gentle pat on the side of the zodiac. Once ashore we were left to simply relax on one of the whitest stretches of beach I have ever seen. Some passengers went for a jog, some swam in the calm azure waters, some listened to naturalist guide discourse, some snorkeled along a disappearing rocky outcrop just off shore, while others simply slept in the sun. Due to the extensive range of the area’s large and abundant salt-water crocodiles this was to be our last swim in the ocean on the trip. After our morning of fun in the sun, a brief sail brought us to one of the most prolific bird breeding habitats in the world, the Lacepedes Island group. There was incredible stormy sunset light and welcomed cloud cover. We witnessed the largest resident brown booby population on the planet measured in the hundreds of thousands with abundant sightings of Australian pelicans, lesser frigate birds, sooty oyster catchers and roseate terns all in the mix as well. It was an incredible first day for a trip that continued to surprise and surpass all expectations.

The second morning of our voyage brought us into truly incredible scenery between the red sandstone mesa formations of Raft Point and Montgomery Reef just offshore. The vistas here were both new and somehow familiar. Having spent my college years in the desert southwest, this region of Australia looked as if the ocean flooded into the mesas, canyons and buttes of southern Utah and northern Arizona. The coast of the Kimberley offers the stark beauty of these iconic American regions, but fringed with productive mangrove, reef and tidal river ecosystems. The contrast of these two habitats directly next to each other was surreal. Again, we boarded our zodiacs to motor out 10 miles offshore amongst a natural spectacle, Montgomery Reef. The tides here are so severe that they can rise and fall as much as 33 feet, causing virtual waterfalls of ocean water cascading off this reef system at low tide. With so much water and life moving around the area becomes a vibrant food chain with birds and predator fish all waiting for food to present itself. As we drifted in the fast tidal rivers amongst the reef system we simply couldn’t keep track of all the green turtle sightings. After lunch and some time out of the sun we made landing at Raft Point for a hike to a saddle between two rock outcrops for our first look at one of the Aboriginal rock art galleries that the Kimberley is famous for. Our hiking group was left speechless as our knowledgeable Aboriginal art expert Darren discussed the significance of this particular gallery with it’s depictions of the creation story and wildlife reverence. Another staggering day filled with stunning scenery, abundant wildlife and cultural and historical perspective that a lucky few are fortunate enough to see.

The days spent aboard the Orion progressed much like this for another week with incredible sights and experiences. We witnessed 200-foot waterfalls, eagles catching fruit bats in mid-flight, hikes to crashed World War II era cargo planes and 40,000-year-old Bradshaw rock art galleries, galloping rock wallabies, the area’s famous saltwater crocs, bumpy zodiac rides in the geologic tidal oddity known as the “Horizontal Waterfalls,” expert lectures on geology, Australian ornithology, Aboriginal art and culture, and much, much more. It truly was an “expedition” voyage into one of the most remote and unique places I have ever seen. I always love visiting new cities, but trips like this that get you out into the remote wilderness of a new country are always the ones that stick with me.

Black Diamond Quadrant/Drift Review and Other TMS Items

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
Pam skinning up under early grey skies with Mt Rose ski area in the background

Pam skinning up under early grey skies with Mt Rose ski area in the background

Who ever knew you could get a babysitter to come over at 6am? Well, now I do! My wife and I were lucky enough to experience this crack-of-dawn babysitter who was as happy as could be at 6 am, certainly more awake than I was, which was good because soon she was going to have a 2-year-old to deal with while I was out schralping the powder in the Mt. Rose backcountry with all sorts of new gear. While the conditions were a bit wind crusted in spots, it was a great morning to be out with my beautiful wife for a dawn patrol ski during one of our busiest weeks of the year and to be testing some of our new arrivals. As you can see here, I was using all stuff that we sell here at the shop and here is my expert review of all this great outdoor gear for your reading pleasure. I will go head to toe.

Head to Toe in TMS Gear

Head to Toe in TMS Gear

Smith Variant Brim Helmet with Smith Phenom Goggles – This is a superb combination that I got it last year. If I had waited until this year, I would have the Smith Vantage helmet instead, but that’s how it goes. The Variant Brim is well ventilated, adjustable and fits my head with ease. The Phenom goggles go hand in hand with the Smith helmets. They fit great, no gaper gap at all and no fogging up due to the efficient air system that works between the helmet and goggles. I would go with a Vantage now, simply because it is lighter and has a better vent system.

Balconi Polar Visor Hat – I use this on the way up and I love it.

Sporting the Balconi Visor

Sporting the Balconi Visor

First, it is a visor so it keeps the snow off your face or the sun, whichever the weather gods decide to provide. I love visor hats when I am hiking because it allows my head to breathe very effectively and therefore regulates the rest of my body temp. Huge fan, get one if you like winter hat/visors.

Mammut Albaron Jacket – I think I might have found my dream jacket when I found this little beauty. This is a Gore Tex Pro Shell jacket, which basically means it is super minimalist, packs up smaller than a down jacket, has huge pit zips and even bigger front pockets. You can see in the picture above, there is even some tacky, reinforced material on the shoulders for wear and tear from your pack. This jacket is completely minimalist in all other ways. No stupid pull cords, no extra soft material for your delicate chin, nothing. This is a standard, lightweight, fully waterproof and breathable shell jacket that looks super hot on me, if you don’t mind my saying. I highly recommend this jacket!

Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants – This is our first season carrying any Outdoor Research product and so far, we are very impressed with their quality and attention to detail. I have been looking for a true soft shell pant that actually fits for a very long time, and I am proud to say, I finally found a pair. I am wearing a size medium and they fit great for my 5’8″ frame. Most soft shell pants are too long on me, but not these. Some of the details that first stuck out at me: Cuff guards on the inside of boot, zippers on the outside of the boot, huge ventilation zips on each leg (see pic), 2 thigh pockets, 2 rear pockets and a built-in belt that is actually easy to adjust.

Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants

Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants

These pants are extremely comfortable, move and glide with your every movement and are a now my go-to pant for all my backcountry travels.

Black Diamond Quadrant Boots – Generally, I subject myself to using all the demo gear in the shop rather than ever getting anything of my own, but that changed this season with the Quadrant boots. I had a chance to demo them last year in development mode, and loved them so much I picked up a pair this year. This is a true touring boot and what I like most is the flexibility this boot offers. It is incredibly stiff when in ski mode and skis like a charm even on big skis like the Zealot or Megawatts. In traditional alpine touring boot designs, the cuff edge and middle buckles limit the forward range of motion in walk mode; Black Diamond‘s Pivoting Cuff moves up and out of the way to allow the boot to flex farther forward than conventionally possible. This is a huge plus for us backcountry tourers because it now allows for a greater range of motion while walking, boot packing or even ice climbing. I am also a total believer and convert in the Boa system. I think this system is super slick and easy to adjust. It really allows you to get the liner to the perfect tension. Also, it allows you to unbuckle your boots and relieve tension on your feet, while keeping your foot in place in the liner which prevents any rubbing or blistering. All in all, these boots kick butt and that recommendation is coming from a telemarker turned ATer mostly due to these boots and Dynafit bindings.

Black Diamond Quadrant with BD Drift Skis

Black Diamond Quadrant with BD Drift Skis

Black Diamond Drift Skis with Dynafit TLT ST Bindings – Black Diamond is really trying to enter the backcountry-specific market this year, and the Quadrant and Drift are the premier boots and skis respectively that they are doing it with. The Drift is 136 at the tip, 100 under foot and light as a feather. Mounting them up with Dynafit bindings is the only way to go in my opinion, don’t waste those weight savings with a heavy, unnecessary binding. These skis skied like a dream. The conditions today were extremely variable with hard pack giving way to wind crust then to dust on crust and finally, when down in the trees far enough, bottomless powder. These skis performed excellently in all those conditions. I was surprised at how solid they actually felt as I thought they would be more like noodles and not hold an edge very well, but I admit, I was wrong. They cut through all the variable conditions with no problem at all. I was also skiing the 176cm size and thought they were perfect.

I had a lot of other stuff on too, but these were the highlights. I hope you like our product reviews and if you have any questions, feel free to call the shop and talk to any of our gear experts or post your comment below and we will respond super fast.  Happy New Year to all our loyal customers and blog readers! Here are a few more pics for your viewing pleasure.

Pam switching over for the ski down

Pam switching over for the ski down

Black Diamond Drifts ripping it up

Black Diamond Drifts ripping it up

Now Offering Helmet Camera Rentals!

Monday, December 27th, 2010

So you’re in Tahoe, about to drop the ski line of your life, take your kid sledding for the first time, mountain bike the ultra-scenic Flume Trail… you NEED to capture the moment. And there’s no better way to do it than with a high-definition ContourHD or ContourGPS video camera.

Lucky for your wallet, we are now offering helmet camera rentals so you don’t have to throw down and buy the entire hands-free camera and its mounts.

For just $40 and $45 respectively you can take one of our ContourHD or ContourGPS cameras for 24 hours. You get amazing HD video quality, and the ease of use Contour is famous for. Choose between a flat surface mount, goggle mount or vented helmet mount to secure the camera to your head, snowmobile, whatever. Plus, you get a 4 GB memory stick and USB reader so you can take your footage home to view, edit and save. Repeat renters (who don’t need another memory stick/USB reader) get $15 off.

Colorado Ski Conditions Check-in: Central Rockies Colorado

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Matt Samelson of Boulder, Colorado, brings us this update on Colorado ski conditions and the general stoke in the Central Rockies. Though Matt resides some 1,500 miles away from our brick-and-mortar store at Lake Tahoe, the former Couloir magazine editor is a loyal online TMS customer. Look for his series of Colorado Ski Conditions Check-ins on our blog this winter, and look for him on the Colorado slopes in his new TwentyTwo Designs Axl bindings.

I woke up on the morning of the winter solstice to an email from a close friend who lives in Gunnison.

“Sorry to be such a douche, but this is gold. This is language from a professional forecaster: Confidence remains high that this storm is an epic . . . The snow will continue to pound the mountains and will be relentless.”

The NOAA forecaster may enjoy the adjectives, but the prognosis wasn’t that far off. As of December 21, Crested Butte had received 53 inches and the town of Gothic, just eight miles north of CB, had a storm total of 82 inches.

Now, I will gladly admit that I’m a homer. Born and raised in Colorado, I’m always excited when Colorado is in the crosshairs of the jet stream. I lived in Tahoe long enough to see what a real storm is, so when there’s a chance that Colorado could receive the crushing blizzards that Tahoe and Wasatch regularly get, I’m cheering loudly.

The Pineapple Express has been cruising through Colorado for the past 5 days. But it got a little warm yesterday, and Colorado took a turn for Tahoe:heavy, wet snow,puddles in town at 9,100 feet. Mid-December sure is sloppy. And, at least for the moment, the Pineapple Express has a distinctive Coconut Express feel to it with that hard layer on top of two feet of new snow.

Just in time for the pre-holiday rush, the roads iced up nicely. I-70 closed because a truck carrying explosive gel was rear-ended by an industrial-sized tow truck. Explosive gel. I don’t really know what that is, but it sounds sketchy. Normally such a truck would be routed over Loveland Pass, but blowing snow and wind had closed the pass… again.

So the roads suck, and the heavy snow is a foreign concept for most here. But for Colorado this is about as close as we get to the “If you can see it, you can ski it” mentality our friends on the West Coast have.

Which all leads up to some amazing resort skiing. Lines in Blue Sky Basin would fill in by the time you lapped it. Montezuma Bowl is 100-percent open. The snow in Whale’s Tail was pretty much hero snow ─ several inches on top of a solid base. All without a crowd anywhere. After the wretched ski season Colorado had last year, it’s nice to be off to reputable start this year. And so it begins. New Axl bindings are mounted, Element Belafonte skis are waxed, car is packed and it’s time to catch up with some family in Frisco and then head off to Telluride and Silverton.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Tahoe

Monday, December 20th, 2010

WHO: TMS Tech Guy Todd and friend Hillary

WHAT: Cutting a Christmas tree

WHERE: Tahoe National Forest

WHEN: December 17, 2010

GEAR: snowshoes, headlamp, kerosene lantern (for old-fashioned ambiance), Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle filled with hot chocolate and brandy, and most importantly – a saw

Christmas tree collage

Did you know that for just $10 you can get a Holiday Tree Permit from the U.S. Forest Service that allows you to cut your own Christmas tree on National Forest land in the Tahoe Basin? I actually had no idea until this winter. It turns out that all you have to do is drop by one of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit offices and pick up a permit. Not only does this give people the traditional experience of venturing out and cutting down their own holiday Tannenbaum, it also helps the forest. Cutting down small bushy firs, pines and cedars aids in creating defensible space by removing potential fire ladders.

I got my permit a week before Christmas and the extended forecast was showing snow all week long. The sun had already gone down but the moonlight was glowing through the clouds. It was now or never.

It was a nice night for a moonlit snowshoe hike. Armed with a kerosene lantern and a saw we set out towards my old neighborhood. Having lived the summer in this neck of the woods I knew it pretty well. Granted, it looked totally different covered in snow. We hiked about half a mile into the forest and then scouted around for the perfect candidate to fell.

Picking the right tree is trickier than one might think. Not only does it need to look good, there are also certain criteria that it needs to meet in order to satisfy the regulations on the permit. I won’t get into the details, but you can read the regulations if you wish. After nearly an hour of searching for the right tree we found a nice fir closely surrounded by a few other firs. Long story short, we cut it down, hauled it back to the car and brought it home.

Todd, Hillary, tree

Want to get a tree of your own? Permits will be issued until December 23 and cutting is permitted up until Christmas Day. Visit the LTBMU Holiday Tree Permit page for more details.

December is Prime for Bishop Bouldering

Friday, December 17th, 2010

“Woah, it’s a powder day at the Buttermilks,” Chris said, stunned at the number of cars we saw lining Bishop’s Buttermilk Road. With temps reaching 70 degrees and nothing but sun in the sky, last weekend was the perfect time to be bouldering in Bishop, California. And apparently, we weren’t the only ones who got the memo. There were maybe 100 people out there, with Lisa Rands, Charlie Barrett and Beth Rodden headlining, and tons of video cameras and SLRs out of their bags.

We met up with a few friends. Chris and Jay worked on Fly Boy and a few other problems, but in general we just kept it mellow enjoying the sun and scene. As the sun was setting we stopped by the crowd gathering around Charlie Barrett, who was about to make, what most think, the second ascent of Saigon Superdirect, what Wills Young calls “one of the proudest highballs at the Milks” on the Bishop Bouldering Blog. See Young’s post on Barrett’s Saigon Superdirect ascent for a cool photo… Chris is at the photo’s bottom spotting him.

On our way out, our dog, Fern, tried to eat a photographer; I think it was the guy making this cool timelapse video of the day.

On Sunday, Chris and I wanted to get away from the crowd. We took a trail run up the canyon (nothing better than wearing shorts and a t-shirt with snow-capped peaks all around you), then headed up to the Pollen Grains. We set up shop at the Lidija Boulder, where Chris got on some classic problems like Lidija’s Mouth, Drone’s Militia and Suspended in Silence.

We will definitely be making the drive from Tahoe again this winter… can’t beat wearing flip-flops in December. Bouldering in Bishop is definitely a great way to get away from winter, especially when the skiing isn’t its best like last weekend. Bishop bouldering is at its peak November through April, so get it while it’s good, too!

Holiday Outdoor Gear Gift Guide: Staff Picks 2010

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

In this ultimate outdoor gear gift guide, we take a departure from our usual 5 Under $50 gift guides to bring you an inside look at what the Tahoe Mountain Sports staff have on their wish lists this year.

TODD: Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket $378.95

“I wanna get a Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket because I think it’s the best men’s winter shell we have (that isn’t crazy expensive). I’m also due for a new ski jacket since my old one was destroyed in a tragic fireplace-related accident.”

KELLY: MSR Evo Snowshoes $139.95 (currently on sale for $125.95)

“I really want some MSR snowshoes. The new MSR Evo, formerly the Denali classic, are the best suited for recreational so they’re the best for me since I am no crazy snowshoe enthusiast but want to be able to take my dogs out and also have a lightweight pair for backcountry snowboarding.”

DAVE: Smith Vantage Helmet $179.95

“This new helmet from Smith is uber-lightweight and great looking, plus it has an amazing ventilation system and is audio compatible with my iPhone so I can listen to my music and answer work calls all at the same time.”

KEVIN: Mammut Nirvana Pro 35 Backpack $169.95

“What I would really like is a Mammut Nirvana Pro 35 backcountry pack, because it has a back panel that opens, allowing you to get into your stuff without pulling it out into the snow. Also, I’m not very good at coming up with my own system of organization, and it has organizer pockets that include a labeled first aid kit! I also want a Mammut Extreme Baltoro Jacket, $358.95, because it looks better than a well-tailored Armani suit, and it costs less!”

LIS: Pieps DSP Avalanche Beacon $449.95

“Since this is hypothetical and I am imagining my potential gift-giver to be quite generous, I want a new avalanche beacon. I currently have a 2-antenna beacon and it just doesn’t perform as fast, efficient and clear as a 3-antenna transceiver like the Pieps DSP. I’m also jonesing for the Lole Tender Top, $64.95, so soft!”

PAM: Haiku Hobo Bag $77.95

“I really want the Haiku Hobo Bag! I love the styling and it has tons of pockets. It’s also durable and more urban looking than the bag I’ve been carrying. I love the paisley pattern and unique side-angle zipper. Hopefully my husband reads this and gets it for me!”

5 Under $50: Holiday Gift Ideas for Women

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Don’t know what to get the lovely lady in your life this holiday? You’re in luck because Tahoe Mountain Sports’ buyer, Pam, has penned this Holiday Gift Ideas for Women guide using her trained eye in what women want, delivering you inexpensive gift ideas that are all under $50. Read on, buy, wrap and get ready to impress.

1. Outdoor Research Pinball Hat $33.95

The Outdoor Research Pinball Hat looks great on every head! This soft cable knit hat has a WINDSTOPPER ear band to keep the girl on your list toasty warm and a pom pom on top so she looks cute playing in the snow.

2. SmartWool Ultra Comfy Sock Trio $49.95

This gift pack of 3 SmartWool socks is guaranteed to be a hit. The luxurious merino socks are all natural and moisture wicking plus they come in beautiful colors and patterns, all in a smart box that makes giving extra easy.

3. Kavu Keeper $29.95

Brighten up your holiday with Kavu Purses under the tree. The Kavu Keeper is one of our bestselling bags, made of durable cotton canvas with 4 organizer pockets and an adjustable strap. These fun bags come in lots of bright, bold patterns. You’ll like it so much you’ll wish you had ordered one for yourself!

4. Lole Alexis Belt $34.95

A classic black leather belt from Lole makes a great stocking stuffer or is perfect for the office gift exchange. The Lole Alexis Belt is 100-percent leather with contrast stitching and a stylish silver buckle. This is sure to please even the pickiest girl on your list.

5. Black Diamond Moxie Headlamp $29.95

Give the gift of light with a headlamp! This great gift is also super practical. From camping to emergency roadside repairs, every gal needs a headlamp. We recommend the Black Diamond Moxie, loaded with features like 3 brightness settings and an adjustable head. Plus it comes in fun, feminine graphics at a price that fits your budget.

5 Under $50 is a monthly Tahoe Mountain Sports blog series dedicated to showcasing some of our more affordable products. Each month we pick a theme, then show you the gear. Suggest a topic in our comments if you need some shopping help, and check out more inexpensive holiday gift ideas for women in our Gift Ideas section.

Adventures of a 1-Year-Old Skier

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Deciding on the youngest age to teach a kid to ski depends on who you ask. If you ask most resorts, they say around 3 years old. If you ask the Larkins family of Tahoe City, they say ASAP. In this Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week, we hear from the littlest Larkins family member, who, at almost 16 months old, already has 4 days under her belt this season.

WHO: Makenna Larkins

WHAT: Skiing the corduroy

WHERE: Alpine Meadows

WHEN: 2010-11 ski season, and 2009-10 ski season

GEAR: A Patagonia fleece hat to add some padding to my helmet (I’m still growing into it), warm mittens, and the highest-performance skis on the market… I think mine are Black Diamond Megawatt Minis

Hey, I am Makenna and I am almost 16 months old. My good friend Lis from Tahoe Mountain Sports asked me to write a blog post about my skiing adventures. Being born and raised (so far) in Tahoe is pretty unbelievable. Last April my Dad took me up Sherwood at Alpine Meadows in a backpack. It was closed so he skinned up and then he skied down with me in tow.

My summer was great, but this winter thing has my parents hooked, so off to the slopes it was for me as of opening day at Alpine Meadows! When the snow fell this November I was already itching to get out myself. My first few days I just did laps with my Mom off of Meadow chair. Then this past Wednesday my Dad figured I was ready for Summit 6, that and the fact that it was the only chair turning had me headed up to the expert slopes! I loved it. I was laughing and giggling the whole way down. Here are some pics of me shredding, and my expert tips on the best way to learn to ski when you’re little:

Tip #1: Ride up the lift sandwiched between two strong, handsome men.

Tip #2: Position yourself between a pair of strong legs, then think about pizza and french fries.

Tip #3: Keep your eye on the prize.

Tip #4: Look extra cute when finished to get loads of attention and great family portraits you’ll cherish forever and ever.

I can’t wait for my next day out, hopefully this coming Friday. Keep an eye out for me on the hill! Makenna.

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, bike, ski, surf, climb, dive) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

5 Under $50: Gadgets and Gifts for Men

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

If you’re anything like me, you’re in dire need of gifts for men who have everything. These practical, functional, inexpensive gifts for men are sure to jumpstart your holiday shopping for any guy on your list.

1.  Joby Gorillapod Camera Tripod $24.95

This flexible camera tripod is the perfect gift for outdoor photographers as it grips and clings to just about anything, including tree branches and tent poles, and can adjust to uneven surfaces. The aspiring photographer in your life will love this portable, functional gift! If your guy’s not a man of the lens, treat him to one of our many other electronics, like helmet cameras, headlamps or avalanche beacons.

2. Loki Fleece 3 in 1 Hat $24.95

Not sure what he needs to stay warm? Get him 3 accessories in one with this shape-changer. Since he can wear it as a neck gaiter, face mask or hat, it’s perfect for a day on the slopes or simply staying warm at the stadium. If he’s more into high endurance winter sports or backcountry pursuits, try the Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Beanie.

3. Terramar 1/4 Zip Geo Fleece Top $49.95

Forget that dress shirt… give him a shirt he’ll have fun in! This performance mens base layer can take him from camp to summit as its the warmest base layer in the popular Terramar Body Sensors line, yet quick to dry with innovative wicking via electrostatic evaporation.

4.  Dakine Blockade Gloves $39.95

These lightweight, windproof gloves are nimble so he can work, ski and play without sacrificing dexterity. These make great spring skiing gloves or an extra pair for keeping in the car. If he needs a beefier option, check out our full line of men’s gloves and mittens.

5.  Patagonia Capeline 1 Boxer Briefs $28.95 (currently on sale for $26.05)

These ultimate moisture wicking boxer briefs make great stocking stuffers, and will keep him cool and dry no matter the season. And if you want to make him just as happy on the outside, outfit him with more Patagonia! See our full Patagonia Men’s Clothing selection for more gifts for men.

5 Under $50 is a monthly Tahoe Mountain Sports blog series dedicated to showcasing some of our more affordable products. Each month we pick a theme, then show you the gear. Suggest a topic in our comments if you need some shopping help, and check out more inexpensive gifts for men in our Gift Ideas section.

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