Christmas is coming, and whether you’re spending the festive season at home or away, in the sunshine or out on the slopes, here in Le Bijou’s home country of Switzerland, we are making the most of the cooler climes. Our virtual concierge, James, gives his top tips for the snow sports fan on your Christmas list.
In Rhaeto-Romanic, ‘zai’ means ‘tough’, and that’s a promise that these high-end skis certainly live up to. Established in 2003, the company’s focus is on beautifully crafted high-performance skis without mass market production. Just over ten craftsmen work in the mountain workshop, each passionately devoted to life on the slopes, producing only five pairs of skis in a day. The pairs are individually numbered, made from layers of granite, carbon fibre and vulcanised rubber with a stainless steel top edge. They are beautiful - and they ski beautifully. Zai encourages prospective buyers to visit the factory and see their unique combination of hand craftsmanship and technological innovation in person, and it’s a great gift experience.
Goggles: Smith I/O
A long-time staple in the Smith line, the I/O has seen an update this season with the addition of magnetic fastenings. So it’s even easier to switch out lenses for different light conditions, making these goggles one of the best on the market. Smith are always sleek, but this year, check out the collaboration with snowboarder Austin Smith: a chic black and gold colour scheme is contemporary, while the rimless design gives them a cool edge and a wide field of vision.
HD camera goggles: Zeal Optics
If improved visibility isn’t enough for you, then Zeal Optics have integrated an HD camera into their Camera Goggle. It solves the problem of the ungainly GoPro-on-helmet look, and provides the budding filmmaker with 1080p HD camera, 12MP still photography and an in-goggle viewfinder to review the clips. In addition, they have pretty good credentials as actual goggles with 100% UV protection, anti-fog, a glare-reducing finish and a comfortable foam fit.
Toy: SnoGo articulated bike
What do you get when you combine mountain biking and skiing? The SnoGo. It looks like a hybrid between a bike and skis, with a frame attached to one front and two rear skis. These articulate with the riders movement as they twist and turn down the slopes: a brand new way to experience an age old sport.
Ski wear: Bogner Muriel down ski jacket
Sleek, chic and high performance - what more do you need from a ski jacket? The Bogner Muriel is a classic that always feels contemporary. A black shell is offset by signature gold ‘B’ zippers, and practical elements such as a tiered snow guard in the waistband look carefully though through for style as well as substance. The tailored fit offers a sleek profile, but doesn't sacrifice on warmth, while goose down makes this a jacket that is warm enough for the cable car, and breathable enough for the bar.
Fashion: Moncler Genius collection with Pierpaolo Piccioli
Make a statement on and off the slopes with this full-length quilted collection from Moncler. It is part of the Genius collaboration with Italian designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, and is reportedly inspired by Renaissance images of the Madonna. The collection includes floor-length capes, coats and dresses, all with an ultra-soft down core - after all there’s no need to suffer in the cold for style.
No ski lifts. No other skiers. For serious fans of the slopes, it’s a perfect, if elusive, combination and heli skiing is pretty much the best way to find it. There are several companies and areas in Switzerland offering heli skiing tours, with everything from James Bond-themed adventures, to pristine views and slopes in iconic resorts such as Zermatt. Ask James for recommendations.
Home: Gray Malin Á La Montagne photography
Gray Malins is famous for his playful photography and his pieces decorate the spreads of high-end home magazines across the world. Remind someone of a special location, or just add a little winter magic to the walls with one of his aerial mountain scenes. Shot at some of the world’s most exclusive resorts, including Apsen, Verbier, Zermatt and St. Moritz, they picture the ‘luxe winter bliss found in lavish ski resorts from an incredibly unique overhead perspective’. Each print is available in several sizes and signed by the artist.
Need a helping hand finding the perfect gift? Our virtual concierge, James, is on hand to help guests with suggestions, personal shopping and more. www.lebijou.com