Photo courtesy Elevation Bouldering Gym

Gifts for the Great Outdoors

From winter sports to bouldering, here are local gifts to keep you active

Berg’s Ski Shop

As we approach Eugene’s season-long stretch of drizzle, combined with a second COVID lockdown imposing stricter indoor social-distancing, there’s no better time to escape to the mountains. Berg’s Ski Shop offers the perfect gift destination for both avid outdoorsmen and those simply itching to get out of the house.

Employees at Berg’s say they are encouraging customers to try their hand at backcountry exploration this year.

“It’s the perfect time to get away from the crowds and try something different,” says employee Tom Bevin.

Buyers should seek out a lightweight ski that allows them to move fast and conserve their energy for longer periods of time, according to Bevin. In-store custom boot-fitting machines, which mold the shell of the boot using heat, will keep your toes toasty and supported. 

As with any backcountry touring, safety is paramount. All skiers who are adventuring in an unpatrolled area should pack a spade with them, in case of an avalanche or surprise tree well. Berg’s offers a variety of collapsible shovels to keep with you for peace of mind. 

Bevin also recommends investing in a safety beacon. The Tracker3 Avalanche Beacon is a pocket-friendly radio device that transmits and receives radio waves to locate someone trapped in the snow.

For those hoping to reach the peaks at a slightly slower pace, snow-shoeing is a fun and cost effective choice. Drop by Berg’s Ski Shop and ask one of their “snow-enthusiast” employees to help you find the best way to get outdoors this season. Masks are required inside the store, and there are no returns or try-ons of ski masks or gaiters.

Berg’s Ski Shop is located at 367 W. 13th Avenue, open 11 to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday. Shop online at (541) 683-1300.

Eugene Gear Traders

Eugene Gear Traders is a treasure trove for outdoor lovers looking to not break the bank in purchasing gifts. The consignment shop is a great option for families hoping to outfit growing kids, or simply find a brand-name piece of gear at half price. 

Owner Bevin Helm, who has two outdoor-minded children of her own, keeps the store stocked with supplies from sports ranging from surfing to skiing and climbing. 

“I like to think there’s something for everyone here,” she says.

While each piece is unique, a few gems from the store include a bright blue Patagonia down puffer, more than $100 off its original price, and barely used Smith iOS snow goggles — Helm’s own choice of eye protection when heading down the slopes.

There is one rack of unworn clothing from premium lifestyle brand prAna, perfect for those in search of a cozy name-brand sweatshirt.

Helm’s husband also creates handmade wallets and belts, crafted from local leather retailer Tandy Leather. A unique stocking stuffer could be the perfect gift for an outdoor enthusiast. Masks and social distancing are required in-store, and hand sanitizer is available before browsing.

Eugene Gear Traders is open noon to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday, at 233 W. 5th Avenue. Don’t wait to stop by, though —someone else may have their eye on that one-of-a-kind piece. (541) 780-6073.

Elevation Bouldering Gym

If braving the winter elements isn’t your thing, Elevation Bouldering Gym is the destination for indoor adventure. A gift card or day pass would make a unique present for someone looking to gift an experience rather than an item. 

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing without a harness or rope — while that may seem daunting to newcomers, don’t stress: the soft, padded floor is equipped for any accidental slips and the rockwall maxes out at a height of 15 feet. Fans of bouldering say the lack of equipment allows the climber to focus on their body and form. 

The space is designed to accommodate climbers of all ages and abilities, and offers classes to both adults and youth. 

While the gym is closed Nov. 18 through Dec. 2 to follow the state of Oregon’s two-week COVID freeze, the facility says it plans to open its doors as soon as possible. Masks are required everywhere in the building, and markings on the floor provide walking directions to ensure the safest experience possible. 

Adult day passes at the gym cost $15, with a monthly membership rate of $65. The gym offers gift-cards, available for purchase online and in store — the perfect present for loved one in search of a fun and challenging New Year’s hobby.

Elevation Bouldering Gym is located at 348 Lincoln Street. Gift cards are available for purchase at (541) 972-3595. 

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