There is an irony that shopping for those guys and gals in your life who are the biggest adventurers doesn't require traveling much distance. Along a few-block stretch on Century Drive, there are three prime stops to completely equip a Sir Edmund Hillary expedition—or, to do even better. From high-tech compasses to high-end safety gear, these three stores are a remarkable treasure trove of gifts and gear.
Skjersaa's (130 SW Century Dr.)
Nearly a century ago, when skiing was more a necessary mode of transportation than a recreation, some of the original Scandinavian settlers and loggers formed the Bend Skyliners Moutaineering Club. Think about it, Bend was barely two decades old, but already, the area was becoming a destination spot.
In 1958, one of those original founders, Olaf Skjersaa, opened a ski shop with his last name and helped further formalize the ski culture here.
The store still carries that down-to-earth friendly European attitude. (Not to mention, the wood front porch with a carved fence reminds me exactly of the front porch that my grandparents had on their Swiss Alps' cabin.) When I visited last week, I wasn't more than two steps inside before two young smiling sales clerks were already chatting me up, asking about what sports interest me, about how they could help and excitedly talking about some new equipment.
The clerk was most excited about an extensive collection of TREW jackets and bibs. Based in Hood River, the company is quickly gaining fans. It makes high-performance and insulated wear, but what is alluring about this outerwear is how simple but stylish it is—basic block patterns that seem like a throwback from the most common wild snowboarder patterns.
"Timeless," said the clerk, for whom the '80s are probably only known through John Hughes films, and the '90s were probably spent in grade school. (Most TREW jackets and bibs start at $400; there is a mid-level collared windbreaker starting at $199.)
For a less expensive stocking stuffer, they carry a wide variety of Pistil hats, from knit to sporty ($25-$ 35).
Pine Mountain Sports (255 SW Century Dr.)
For your most burly outdoorsperson, Pine Mountain is well equipped.
Example A: Black Diamond is releasing a limited number of "air bag packs"—backpacks that inflate and, well, save your life if you're in an avalanche—to the United States. Reportedly, only 1,000 will be available from coast to coast, but a disproportionate 10 are being sent to Pine Mountain (which will be roughly $1,300 each). Reserve now. Accompany this life-saving gift with an avalanche beacon (Pieps – Sports, $275).
Pine Mountain is an approachable, but largely high-end store. It carries a good collection of snow bikes—hint, hint; a mid-range Farley 6 ($1,700) dressed with nothing but a red bow will make for a pretty happy gift recipient. They also have a nice collection of Go Pro 4 ($400) to record each and every adventure.
For affordable stocking stuffers for your most adventurous, how about sunglasses? Choose between Suncloud's blockier, '80s styles UV glasses ($50) or the more sleek, terminator style of Tifosi ($49.95).
And, for simple stocking stuffers, Darn Tough socks, made in Vermont, have playful styles—striped black and maroon, or covered in a bubble design ($21). Ironic? Socks inside of stockings?
Powder House (311 SW Century Dr.)
The last stop before climbing up the mountain, Power House is filled with fashion and function. An entire wall is filled with Giro helmets ($160), and with colors as varied as a full box of Crayolas. And, to keep warm, Black Strap makes thin neck and face covers in funky styles, from polka dots to what looks like a photograph of the galaxy by the Hubble telescope ($23.95).
Easy and fun stocking stuffers include igloo block makers ($4.95) and Little Hotties hand warmers ($1.99).