Gifts of gear easily found around New England

  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear, of Biddeford, Maine launched its lightweight Prism Collection in September. (Courtesy Jeremiah Watt/Hyperlite Mountain Gear)

  • Corinne Prevot started headwear and accessory company Skida following requests for a ski hat she made for herself while cross-county ski racing at Burke Mountain Academy. (Courtesy Skida)

Special to the Valley News
Published: 11/1/2019 10:06:56 PM
Modified: 11/1/2019 10:06:41 PM

The gift-giving season looms. Whether found under a tree or candelabrum, hung by the fireplace in stockings or just given wherever and whenever, outdoor lovers can always use more gear.

With an eye out for made-in-New England products, details and locally sourced materials, the region is loaded with sassy products produced by people with some fascinating anecdotes that may make customers appreciate their goods even more.

Colorful prints that take the drab out of winter are the hallmarks of Vermont-made Skida (skida.com) and its fleece-lined and cashmere headwear and accessories. The company, established in 2008, sprouted after founder Corinne Prevot sewed a warm sweat-wicking hat for herself while Nordic ski racing at Burke Mountain Academy.

Others wanted them. She continued to make them while attending Middlebury College and named the company after the Swedish word for ski.

Burlington-based, Skida’s latest bold collection is inspired by Prevot’s late aunt, Isle Prevot, a French Alps guide who spoke six languages. Although she perished in an avalanche in Switzerland in 2003, her legacy continues to inspire her niece and others in the mountains. Adult hats tend to range between $32-$36, with cashmere hats starting at $68.

The fingerless gloves called Wristies (wristies.com) began 25 years ago when KK Greer, then 10, was tired of snow and ice going up her sleeves while playing outside. Her mother encouraged her to do something about it. Greer did.

Now president of Wristies and CEO of Mill Direct Textiles and Mill Yardage, housed in a Rollingsford, N.H., mill since 2009, the gloves keep hands warm and fingers free during a multitude of outdoor and indoor pursuits, from fall hiking to spring skiing. Made with a polyester fleece, Wristies and other accessories come in a variety of sizes and colors. Original adult Wristies run $14.75-$18.25. They also have heated Wristies ($19.50-$20.50) that fit a hand warmer into a nifty pocket for additional warmth.

BaileyWorks (baileyworks.com) takes pride in making durable hand-stitched bags, duffels and totes “like they used to,” according to its mission statement. Formed in Portsmouth, N.H., in 1993, the company is now headquartered in a Newmarket, N.H., mill along the Lamprey River.

With roots steeped in California’s bicycle messenger culture, the company produces practical bags whether on the pavement or in the woods. The two-strap, roll-top and water-resistant Nomad ($135) backpack is a burly bag with a couple of large pockets on the outside with a front-zippered pocked inside. There are two side pockets as well, one with mesh.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear (hyperlitemountaingear.com) is known for helping weight-conscious outdoor enthusiasts lose a few pounds during their endeavors by carrying its ultralight equipment. The Biddeford, Maine, company produces backpacks, tents, stuff sacks and accessories made from a light, tough and waterproof composite used in high-performance sailing and the military.

In September, Hyperlite launched its functional and sturdy Prism Collection for climbers and backcountry skiers. The snowy white alpine trio includes the 40-liter pack ($395) weighing less than 2 pounds, a 5.4-ounce ice screw case ($80) and a 4-ounce crampon bag ($50).

In an industry shaped by polyurethane and polystyrene, Grain Surfboards are hand-made with locally sourced cedar. Based in York, Maine, Grain’s boards tend to take about 50-60 hours to make, with custom boards starting at $2,050.

Ever get filled with envy seeing those wooden kayaks and canoes? Then build your own wooden Grain board with one of their kits; it takes about 60-80 hours to do. Better yet, attend one of their four-day workshops in York or Long Island, N.Y., Grain’s even got a mini model-like wood surfboard kit ($35) for groms.

Parlor Skis (parlorskis.com) got its start in an old Cambridge, Mass., funeral parlor before relocating to East Boston. Founded by a trio of New England college ski racing buddies, the independent custom ski maker churned out some 25 pairs of skis in their debut and now say they’re the largest ski manufacturer in New England, which is still small.

Catchy graphics sizzle on their ready-made skis ($975), while their snowboards ($850) have a wooden-panel look. Customs are a bit more at $1,475 and $1,050, and begins with a fitting over the phone or in person with a founder. Skis take about 2-4 weeks to make.

Build your own during their classes and take them home, although probably not in a hearse.

Marty Basch can be reached at marty.basch@gmail.com.




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