The Granite Sports Holiday Gift Guide

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It's T minus 25 days until Christmas, and unless you're that over-achiever that starts in February stashing away the "perfect thing" for each person on your list, you might be starting to feel a low-grade anxiety creep up about this time of year.

We all want to give gifts that are heart-felt and thoughtful and elicit all the feels, right? But if you're anything like me you put too much pressure on yourself and spend all your time thinking about what might be the best gift, and before you know it it's 9:30pm on Christmas Eve and you're at Walgreens buying mismatched heated slippers out of bin in the middle of the candy aisle.

Not that I know anything about that.  

Anyway. Don't sweat it. Granite Sports is here to help. We've got something for everyone on your list, even your impossible-to-buy-for-secret-santa-second-cousin. 

THE 2017 GRANITE SPORTS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

For your mom...

...who tells you every year not to get her anything: The Pagatonia Radalie Parka

 

 

This is what you need to get her to make up for all the years when you listened to her and didn't get her anything. She birthed you, raised you, and made sure you always packed a jacket. She's top notch, and she deserves a top notch coat. 

For your roommate...

...who started climbing last summer: The Needles Mini Climbing Guide 

This awesome insider's guide is written by the owners of Sylvan Rock Climbing School & Guide Service and will help your buddy get familiar with several classic routes in Custer State Park as well as some put up in the last few years. And if you really want to go all out, book them a day on the rock with the pros

For your BFF...

...who is always Instagramming her Chacos: A Kavu Rope Bag

There's a reason why you see this bag everywhere: it's cute and functional and is just as at home on the trail as it is in the local coffee shop. And it comes in a zillion different patterns, so you can get one too without everyone noticing that you're twinning. 

For your boss...

...who always orders her latte at 180 degrees: A Hydro Flask Coffee Flask

Because if she uses one of these guys, her coffee will still be 180 degrees at lunch time. 

For your husband...

...who travels for work, but also for adventure: A Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L

It's a suitcase. It's a backpack. It's made of burly polyester ripstop with highly weatherproof TPU laminate and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. It says "I'm profesh, but I'd also rather be outside right now." 

For your Uncle Bob...

...who visited from Iowa in July and schooled you racing to the top: A Black Elk Peak T-Shirt

There's nothing like a souvenir t-shirt to say, "My pride is still hurt, but I'm not bitter anymore."

For your crunchy...

...cousin, yoga instructor, mechanic, or self: Halfpint Naturals Products

Not only do they smell awesome and not contain all they things you don't need to be putting on your skin, they also work, and are handmade by our friend Lisa in Colorado. Throw a chapstick in every stocking, a lotion bar in every room, a Fishy Feet in your sock drawer and a Magic Muscle Stick in your gym bag.  

For your brother...

...whose quickdraws always go missing when you borrow them: DMM Alloy Offsets

Because you owe him, and these are on his list. 

For your girlfriend...

...who you are planning to propose to on Christmas Eve: The MSR Hubba Hubba Backpacking Tent

It's compact. It's lightweight. And it sleeps two. Nothing says "long-term commitment" like a piece of backpacking equipment that will last for years. (Recommended to supplement - but not necessarily replace - a ring.)

For almost anyone...

...who doesn't insist that "they don't do hats": The Patagonia Fitz Roy Bison Trucker Hat

This is our best-selling hat. And we sell a lot of hats. We figure the numbers don't lie, so this is a pretty safe bet for just about anyone on your list. Oh, and we've got it in four colors...so you can cover multiple "anyones". 

For the real tricky ones...

...and the procratinators: A Granite Sports Gift Card

Sometimes you just run out of time, or you can't remember which fleece pullover they mentioned, or you know that most of all they want to pick something out for themselves. We've got your back. Our gift cards come in amounts of $10, $25, $50 & $100 (custom amounts by request), are delivered by email, and contain instructions to redeem them at checkout. (Granite Sports Online gift cards can only be redeemed on our online store. To purchase gift cards that can be redeemed at our Hill City location, please contact the store.

Still stumped? Shoot us an email or stop by the store. We'd love to help you pick out just the right thing for that special someone. 

Merry Christmas & Happy Shopping!

Posted on December 1, 2017 .

How To Rock the Badlands (with Kids): A One-Day Itinerary

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Whether you're a local to the area who has company with small children coming for a visit, or you're taking a family vacay out here from somewhere else, you're probably guilty. We've all done it. We're busy making our big vacation/entertaining plans: Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Sylvan Lake, a hike in the Needles, Reptile Gardens, the taffy shop in Keystone...all the Black Hills family vacation rock stars.  We fit them all into the schedule with some extra room for fishing and hammocking and trail-riding and a campfire or two, and then we sit back, satisfied, thinking we've covered all our bases. But we are mistaken. 

Sitting over here modestly in the corner, while the trees, lakes, and granite take center stage, is Badlands National Park. She waits quietly, just out of site of the thousands of people that pass by everyday on I-90. But she keeps good secrets, and she's worth the trip. 

Okay, maybe that's a little melodramatic, but all we're saying is that if you miss a trip to the Badlands when you're in the area, you're missing out on some beautiful landscape and culture, totally distinct from the natural beauty of the Black Hills. 

We know the Badlands probably aren't the main reason why you've chosen to spend 22 hours in a mini-van with your four kids under five, listening to Trolls on repeat since the Iowa state line, so we're not going to tell you to do all the things. We're just going to hit the highlights; specifically the things that your four-kids-under-five will consider highlights, and that you can reasonably pack into one day without losing your mind, or someone having a complete meltdown all the way back to your pop-up camper in Custer State Park.

  • 8:00am-ish: Head 'em up and move 'em out...east on I-90 from Rapid City. 
  • 8:45am: Breakfast at the world-famous Wall Drug. Yes, the one you saw a trillion billboards for on the way here. The donuts are homemade, the coffee is $.05, and there's a giant jack-a-lope (among other things) you can have your picture take on. Let the kiddos run off some steam before you tell them to get back into the car; you're not actually "there" yet. 
  • 10:00am: Load up and hop back on the interstate (east again) for the 25-mile trip to the park entrance. (21 miles east on I-90 to Exit 121, Cactus Flats. Then take HWY 240 another 3 miles south to the North East park entrance.) 
  • 10:30am: You've arrived! If you're lucky enough to be a fourth-grader, or have one with you, you don't have to pay the park entrance fee...check it out here! If you need to borrow a fourth grader, I know some that will loan you theirs. Just kidding. (From here, all you need to remember as far as directions go, is to stay on HWY 240. It will eventually loop you all the way back to I-90.) Spend the rest of your morning hiking the Door & Window trails. Both are short (less than a mile) & easy, and the Door Trail takes you right out into the middle of the funky landscape. Little ones will enjoy following the "dot-to-dot" -style numbered signs that mark the trail. 
  • Noon: Lunch at Cedar Pass Lodge. Fill up on Indian Tacos and Kuchen, the SD state dessert. 
  • 12:45pm: Walk over to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Here you can watch the film "Land of Stone & Light" in the air-conditioned theater (the film is great, the AC is even better). Check out the interactive exhibits to learn about the history of the land, and the plants, animals, rock-formations and fossils you might see while you're out exploring. Kiddos can also participate in the rad Junior Ranger Program, completing a workbook and earning a badge. 
  • 2:00: Jump back on 240 and spend the afternoon enjoying the extraterrestrial landscape as you make your way west. There are plenty of places to pull over, climb, explore, and take plenty of gorgeous pictures for the ol' Instagram feed. Every time you think you've seen the coolest part of this park, you round another corner and BAM - another killer view. Don't miss the Fossil Exhibit Trail (another easy, boad-walk accessible trail) where kids can see fossil replicas of animals that once roamed these prairies. 
  • 3:00 or 4:00ish: Back at Wall, SD! Pit stop at Wall Drug for potty break and free ice water, and then head back to Rapid City in time for dinner.  

 

Posted on November 1, 2017 .

Ramblings of Winter

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I will admit that I am not a huge fan of the cold weather.  If the snow was a little more consistent in the southern Black Hills, it would be a better source of recreation versus annoyance.  I love an 80 degree day, green grass and the trickle of a small stream.  However, the last few years I have made an effort to bundle up and head out in the cold and enjoy a fresh perspective on this amazing place where I live.  A fresh blanket of snow turns Sylvan Lake into an amazing canvas of black and whites.  A fresh set of tracks on the snow makes me feel like I am the first to explore an area.  The sun glistening off the frost makes my otherwise brown yard dance with excitement.  

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As I am often reminded, I am fortunate enough to live in a place where people go to vacation. And not just in the summer.  This week as the cold rolled into the Black Hills, first time visitors from Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota expressed to me their wonder of the beauty surrounding us.   

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So, if you are like me, try not to get down by the cold weather and shorter days.  Look at it as opportunity to see the familiar as a new landscape waiting to be explored.   

By Pat Wiederhold

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P.S.  All the gear you need to comfortably enjoy the outdoors during the winter months in the Black Hills, from socks to hats, long underwear to coats, can be found at Granite Sports in Hill City, and at Granite Sports Online. 

Posted on October 27, 2017 .