All I want for Christmas …
EAGLE COUNTY – It’s probably safe to say that Christmas shoppers in Eagle County will have a few things on their lists absent from lists of other Americans.An avalanche beacon, for example, is probably not a very hot gift item in Kansas. In and around Vail, though …. Ohh, Santa!”I know a lot of parents who have been getting their kids avalanche beacons and safety gear,” said John Bragg at The Bag and Pack Shop in Avon, which specializes in backpacking and camping equipment in addition to skis and backcountry gear.”I guess parents really want their kids to be safe this year,” Bragg said. “They’re a good thing to have. We’ve also been selling a lot of this Icebreaker stuff. Lots of down jackets this year, too. Then, there’s all of your standard stuff – ski poles, hats, beanies, packs, and travel stuff.”Icebreaker is a relatively new clothing company specializing in merino wool layers, hats and gloves. Local shops carrying the brand say it is in very high demand for holiday season 2005.
Of course, what to buy somebody depends mostly on a person’s interests. There is a certain category of holiday gift recipient – that is to say the hard-to-please local outdoorsy type – might be happy to find a framed topography map of one of his or her favorite play areas under the tree this year. Local shop representatives say topo maps of Mount of the Holy Cross, Mt. Massive, etc., have been selling rapidly for this very purpose.Also for the winter sports enthusiast, Arc’Teryx is another label that has been in high demand at local stores.”Our Arc’Teryx jackets have been selling ridiculously,” said Jen Davin of Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards. “Actually not just the jackets. The Arc’Teryx socks, underlayers, anything and everything we have has been flying out the door. All of those brands – Mountain Hardwear, North Face – usually sell well for Christmas, but Arc’Teryx is leaving the store faster than the others. It’s weird because it’s the most expensive.”At Ptarmigan, some items are mainstays for Christmas shoppers. Snowshoes and hat-scarf combos fall into this realm, as do ski and snowboard pants. This year, however, some of the hottest ski clothing companies – DNA (Design North America), Salomon and Oakley, have come out with colorfully speckled ski suit combos, which have generated for some special orders at local stores.”There’s a Hawaiian one and a polkadot one that have been ordered and re-ordered,” said Mary Haynes, buyer at Ptarmigan sports, who also said that in addition to snowshoes, Kahtoolas are selling more than usual this holiday season. Kahtoolas, which run for about $125 a pair, are the smaller-than-snowshoe crampons that tie on to any shoe or boot.
Toys, toys, toysWhile a solitary hot item such as a Cabbage Patch Kid or a Tickle Me Elmo doll have been shoved into the encyclopedia of Christmas trends from the days of yore, electronics are a steady hit on the holiday wish lists of local young people.”This year, I haven’t noticed a No. 1 gift item,” said Sandi Manning, clerkette at The Toy Store in Vail Village. “The most requested things from people are electronics – the newest Game Boy systems and the mini Ipods. In years past, we’ve had one item that people have called for from all over the United States. Like one year, the Power Rangers were really big. We had one that was in especially (high demand), and we had people calling and coming in for it all day.”Manning said her shop has pegged this year as “a big doll season” and has stocked up on its Madame Alexanders, Lee Middletons and Adora collections.In the way of peculiar gift request for children, The Bag and Pack has made some special orders for a ball that functions as an ice cream maker.
“At first I didn’t know what people were talking about,” Bragg said. “They’re these balls and you put ingredients like salt and milk inside and you kick it around and you have ice cream.”Short supplyOne can only guess that despite the flourishing options of active sports and accompanying accessories available to locals, many local children – like millions of others across the world – are vying for an Xbox 360 from Santa Claus this season.According to game industry websites and local reports, these children might have to wait until after Christmas.”It’s a manufacturer supply and demand issue. There’s not enough supply for the demand,” said CO-manager Lou Groff at Wal-Mart in Avon, which, like most other stores in North America, are fresh out of the latest video game fantasy machine. “The manufacturer does the allotting to different places, so you only get so many,” Groff said, adding that the Xbox 360, when it is available, will sell for $299 or $399 for the platinum addition.
“That’s the one thing that everyone wants this year is the Xbox,” Groff said. “I wish we could take care of our customers, but the manufacturer can’t keep up with the demand.”Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext.14632, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado