Snowboard: Flow Mercury ($370; 905-841-4001 or
In an industry rife with hair-trigger boards designed for spinning jumps and keeled-over turns, Flow's mellow Mercury is the welcome bastion of sanity. It's a lightweight, easy-riding board that does exactly what you ask of it, and nothing more.

The Mountain: Sun Valley, Idaho (800-786-8259 or
The aptly named Sun Valley might be hard to get to (it's a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Boise), but the reward is refreshing serenity and perhaps the best grooming operation in North America. Don't forget the sunblock.
Skier/Rider Profile: Skis regularly and enthusiastically, but isn't willing to let the kids go without shoes just to buy new boards. OK, so maybe if it were summer, but it's cold out there.
Gear Profile: With trickle-down technology and integrated ski/binding systems, manufacturers are offering more performance for less money than ever before.

Ski: Volkl Carver V3 Motion 10 ($650, including bindings; 603-298-0314 or