Thursday, December 16, 2010

Here are 10 Christmas gift ideas for the Idaho outdoorsy guy

Hi all,

Guys can be a tough nut to crack when it comes to buying Christmas gifts for them. Some guys just do a poor job of communicating what they want. Others can't even articulate one idea. But don't worry ... if they're an outdoorsy guy, I have some suggestions that will work. Here are 10 ideas that are bound to be winners.

1. Gloves. Guys can never have enough gloves. We need gloves for hiking, biking, running, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, paddling in cold water conditions, hunting, driving, etc. etc. I often use the same gloves for biking, cross-country skiing and raking leaves, so a lighter pair has multiple benefits. Shop around for some nice ones that will last.

2. Capiline undergarments are awesome. Zip T's, long underwear and crew neck shirts are all a necessary part of the get-up to go skiing, hiking or biking in the cold weather. They come in different weights and sizes. I like to have a mix of lightweight capiline stuff, as well as medium-weight and expedition weight stuff, so that I have the perfect set of undergarments for that day's weather and activity. Patagonia stuff is expensive, but it lasts forever. REI brand capiline is reasonably priced for the budget shopper. You can't ever have enough capiline undergarments. My favorite ones are always in the wash when I need them.

3. GoPro helmet cam video cameras are very cool. The new GoPro HD camera has unbelievable quality for such a small and surprisingly affordable camera. The GoPro HD cameras retail for $299. They are available at most Boise outdoor stores. A very nifty extra would be to also buy your man some video editing software to go with the camera, especially if he's a PC user. If your man is into water sports, he'll love the waterproof case that comes with the camera. I have been using one of these since last fall, and I've gotten some pretty cool footage on my bike and on the river. Now I'm using it for skiing.

4. A knife. Guys like knives. They are useful for many things. Some guys carry a little knife in their pocket every day, or they wear it on their belt. So give your man a knife. Try a Swiss Army knife, or a Buck knife, like the one pictured. Or, maybe he needs a river rescue knife. Whatever, you can't go wrong if you give him a knife.

5. Hats and headbands are a close second in my book to a nice pair of gloves. You just can't ever have enough of them. Especially when it comes to headbands. I tend to lose them, or my significant other steals them. Whatever, you need a bunch of them in your hat stache for the winter. Lighter-weight hats are great for cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing and to go under the helmet for biking. A really warm hat will keep the ears warm in McCall or Sun Valley when the temperatures are in single digits or below zero.

6. Maybe your man needs a ski helmet? Helmets are a great way to reduce the risk of head injury when skiing. I lost a very good friend to a ski injury several years ago, and now I wear a helmet. You can buy helmets with built-in earphones, and some helmets come paired with a perfect set of goggles to go with them. A few stickers would be helpful to go with the helmet, but you might want to leave that up to him ... unless you know that he'd like a certain sticker for sure.

7. Is your guy a river runner? Perhaps he needs a new lifejacket, a rescue rope, a dry bag, a paco pad, or a decent beer holder for the raft frame. If you know he needs some river gear, but you're not sure what to get him, consider a gift certificate to Idaho River Sports, Cascade Outfitters or Boise Army-Navy. Let him decide.

8. Cycling shoe covers for winter riding is another great gift idea. These run $40 to $60, depending on the brand and model. They're a great way to keep his feet warm when he's out night-riding or pedaling in cold weather.

9. Winter boots. Maybe your man needs a new pair of Sorels. Maybe he's never had a pair in the first place! These are deluxe winter boots with a wool interior liner, leather outer and fur-lined to boot! Look for a great selection of winter boots at D&B Supply.

10. Here's a real splurge. Buy him a steelhead fishing trip in Riggins or Orofino. Buy him a trout-fishing trip on the South Fork of the Snake, Silver Creek or the Henrys Fork. Reserve a yurt for you and your friends this winter. Think of a really cool trip that he'd like to do, or a trip that you've always wanted to do together and book it!

If none of these ideas sound good, consider buying him one of my hiking, biking or paddling books. They're available at Boise outdoor recreation stores and On my web site, you can buy a digital all-color book as a pdf, or a hard-copy. You also can buy individual hiking, biking and paddling trips for 99 cents each. You be the judge.

There you have it! If you try one of these ideas, and he still doesn like it, blame it on me. I'll take the heat :)

- SS

Steve Stuebner's outdoor tips can be heard every Friday morning on 94.9 FM The River in Boise at about 7:10 a.m. You can hear the audio from the weekly outdoor segments at

Thursday, December 9, 2010

IDPR adds Stargaze Yurt to its quiver of six yurts in the Idaho City Park n' Ski Area

Stargaze Yurt, courtesy IDPR
Map of trail to Stargaze Yurt (click to enlarge), courtesy IDPR

Hi all,

Now that hunting season is pretty much over and winter is upon us, it's time to crank up Stueby's weekly outdoor tips for the winter season.

And I have fresh news to share! The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has added a sixth yurt to the hut system in the Idaho City Park n' Ski Area -- it's called the Stargaze Yurt.

The 20-foot diameter yurt is accessed from a new Park n' Ski parking area at Beaver Creek Summit, just a mile or so farther than the Banner Ridge parking lot, located about 25 miles east of Idaho City toward Lowman.

Leo Hennessy, IDPR non-motorized trail coordinator, picked a perfect mountain knob at 6,600 feet elevation for the new yurt. "It's a cool spot with excellent slopes for telemark skiing on the north, east and west slopes," Hennessy says. "You can see 360-degree views of all of the surrounding mountains. It's a beautiful location."

The best part of all: IDPR isn't taking reservations for the Stargaze Yurt until Jan. 4 because the early dates in December were reserved for 60+ volunteers who donated approximately 2,500 hours of labor to build the yurt, set up trail signs and cut six cords of firewood, among other things.

So ... for people who like to stay at yurts that means you should stay tuned on the IDPR web site for yurt reservations and be ready to reserve the Stargaze Yurt as soon as IDPR starts taking reservations on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 4. The other five yurts in the Idaho City area already are booked 95 percent of the time for this winter, so Stargaze may be your best chance to get a yurt reserved for you and your friends.

Judy Ditto oversees the yurt program for IDPR if you have questions, but she does NOT take reservations. Her phone number is 514-2418, and her email is Reservations can be made on the IDPR web site or by calling Reserve America at 1-888-922-6743.

A couple of friends of mine were part of the volunteer force that worked on the Stargaze Yurt. They've already been up there enjoying the snow and the view.

"We highly recommend it for first-time yurters," says Barb Cochran. "It's not too far or steep, and it's brand spanking new!"

All of the Idaho City Park n' Ski Trails have been rolled, and they're in the process of being groomed as we speak. More snow is expected Friday. Snow depths are in the 3-feet range or more, depending on elevation. "We've got a good base, and we're expecting 6-10 inches of more snow in the next week," Hennessy says.

I highly recommend the Park n' Ski system for snowshoeing, traditional cross-country skiing (kick and glide) and backcountry skiing (telemarking or alpine touring/randonee). The access points are located directly adjacent to the ski/snowshoe trails, so the fun begins as soon as you're booted up and ready to go. There are 50 miles of trails to explore in the whole Idaho City ski/snowshoe trail system, so there's no excuses!

Be sure to purchase a $25 Park n' Ski Pass for your vehicle, which is required for parking at the Park n' Ski lots. If you don't expect to get out much, a three-day $7.50 parking pass is available as well. Most of the outdoor shops in Boise carry the Park n' Ski passes. Remember, buying a parking pass is a great investment in the future of the Idaho City Park n' Ski System. These dollars are what pays for the trail-grooming up there.

BTW: There is a snow line for information on grooming and snow conditions: 208-514-2423.


Steve's outdoor tips can be heard each Friday at approximately 7:10 a.m. on 94.9 FM The River in Boise.