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Yep, it's that time of year again. Christmas has pretty much exploded over the weekend. There are twelve different varieties of mince pies spilling off the supermarket shelves. Mulled wine is everywhere. Christmas songs are being blasted down the radio, in shops, in bars, in public toilets... That John Lewis with the rabbit and the bear - it was cute, now it's starting to grate a little.
But before we get all 'bah humbug!' about Christmas (we're only on day two after all), we've got to remember Christmas is the season for getting new kit - and buying gear for others. So, to kick off the holiday season, we're doing a few handy Christmas gift guides to help you along the way.
First up: present ideas for the powder junkie! This stuff is fairly heavy duty (and pricey), but anyone who lives for riding backcountry is likely to love a Jones stick or Dakine backpack. So if you're itching to ride like Nico Müller or Gigi - or know someone who does - why not fork out a little bit extra for these bits of kit?
[part title="Jones Hovercraft 2013/14"]
Despite only being around for four years, Jeremy Jones' snowboard brand is fast becoming one of the world's leading freestyle board manufacturers. Pow riders will drool over this unusually shaped stick with a spoon-like nose, swallowtail and setback stance made for cruising through the fresh stuff. Our editor Ed took this bad boy on his trip to Japan last season and loved how it also handled surprisingly well on-piste. Plus they make an almost identical version for women.
[part title="Oakley Fairhaven Jacket and Pants"]
If you're going to be riding powder for days on end, you'll want super waterproof outerwear. No-one likes that wet butt feeling. Oakley's Fairhaven gear is made from Gore-Tex, which is the real deal when it comes to stay dry in powdery conditions. Plus this particular set is super breathable too, so you won't be drowning in your own sweat after skinning up a steep incline. Definitely on the pricey side (you might have to ask very nicely for this set from your wife/girlfriend/mum) but guaranteed to last a long time.
PRICE: £390 (jacket) £350 (trousers)
[part title="Patagonia Men's Merino 1 Silkweight Crew Baselayer"]
Patagonia is a favourite among serious freeriders and big mountain men. They make simple, durable threads from good materials at high-end prices. This baselayer is made from merino wool, which means it's super soft and has anti-bacterial properties to stop it stinking. Ideal for a week's trip when washing machines aren't necessarily at hand.
[part title="Dakine Ally Backpack With Probe & Shovel"]
Off-piste adventurers always need to make sure they take avalanche safety equipment, just in case. This lightweight Dakine backpack includes an aluminium probe and shovel for emergencies, plus straps to carry your board vertically. It's small, so don't go thinking you'll fit all your possessions in there along with the kitchen sink. However, it's great for those wanting to spend a day hiking or splitboarding before heading back down to civilisation.
[part title="Ortovox Zoom+ Transceiver"]
Transceivers are essential pieces of kit for backcountry roamers. Ortovox are the best known and best established maker of transceivers. The Zoom + is their entry level model, good for those heading into the backcountry for the first time without skimping on any life-saving features. It's got three antennas to make pinpointing avalanche victims easier and 'automatic switchover' to notify your if user is buried under a second avalanche.
[part title="Dragon NFX Goggles"]
Frameless goggles are all the rage right now, but they were first introduced by Dragon Alliance a couple of years back. We're big fans of the quick lens change option, plus they offer top-notch peripheral vision. All-round rad looking, hardwearing goggles.
[part title="Burton AK Powder Mitts"]
These super waterproof, all-weather Burton mitts are the dog's bollocks when it comes to gloves for cold conditions. Mittens generally keep hands warmer but these allow your index finger to roam free, so you can easily zip up jackets/strap in without taking them off. Plus they feature Screen Grab technology, which means you can use your touchscreen phone or tablet while wearing them. Handy!
[part title="DC Travis Rice Boots"]
These are Travis Rice's signature DC boot, designed to handle anything this man throws at them - which is a lot, considering he's one of the burliest backcountry riders around. They're super supportive, responsive boots, ideal if you're hurling yourself off cliffs but not so great for playing in the park. It's the attention to detail that makes these babies special, like the anti scuff-pad on the inside of the toes to stop the boot getting ruined when you're riding a snowmobile.