At this year’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market my favorite exhibitors weren’t the big names like North Face, Columbia, or Teva. I love visiting the little guys in the small booths with nothing more than an innovative idea and a prayer.

Vaughn Outdoor makes the CZIP glove. These are sweet winter gloves with leather fingers and Primaloft insulation. What makes them different is the zipper spanning the back of your palm. In an instant you can unzip the gloves and free up your bare fingers for anything you might need them for without taking off your gloves. This an excellent feature for skiing. Any quick adjustment that needs your fingertips can be completed before your hands have a chance to get cold and without the possibility of dropping your glove. Hello Mr. Vaughn, where were these things in 1981 when I still had a paper route?

Another gimicky product that I proudly use was also introduced to me at a small table at OR Winter Market. The Snot Spot is a wearable, washable fleece nose wipe. Sounds gross, but innovation isn’t always pretty. It’s basically like a partial sleeve that fits over your wrist and one finger that you can use to wipe your nose. You know how they say a bird can eat three times it’s weight a day? Well the fleece Snot Spot can absorb triple its weight in nose mucus. How do I know? Let’s just say I’ve tested the product extensively. My snoz runs like a faucet when I’m outdoors in the snow. Now I’m covered with the Snot Spot instead of covered with snot.

An item that I will not be testing anytime soon is the Avalanche Backpack System. It’s like a parachute-if you are caught in an avalanche you pull the rip-cord and large inflatable pillows deploys enabling the wearer to rise above the falling snow to safety. The company boasts a 95% survival rate on their website. My question is who field tested this thing? It’s something ‘Q’ would be proud of. Just imagine the world’s greatest spy eluding persuers in the Alps. Bond purposely triggers an avalanche-the bad guys eat snow while Mr. Bond whips out his Avalanche Backpack System and gently floats to the top of the mountain where some hottie in a helicopter awaits.

Any of these items could be great for the hottie in your life.

Happy Holidays. Think snow.