By Robert Lucke
When it comes to Christmas gift items for the outdoor enthusiast, Havre really has it.
Most Havre stores are stocked with many items that go with just living in a climate that has cold winters. They stock these items all year long, but really deck the halls with them this time of year.
However, there are some stores that have items that are really hot this time of year for the many and varied types of outdoor activities that the Big Sky State provides.
Take Bing N Bob's Sport Shop for instance. There, optics are the big item this holiday season. Folks buy optics to take on vacation, to the ski slope or just to see what the neighbor is doing down the road. There is a whole range of power in very small cases. With about nine different brands to choose from and with prices as low as $19.95 all the way up to $250, there is something there for most everyone. Ice fishing equipment is always hot this time of year for gift giving as well.
Across the street at Cavaliers Men's and Boy's Wear, Woolrich is the exciting thing for Christmas. No stranger to Havre, Woolrich has been here almost as long as Havre had been a town. But never like this. There are chamois shirts in sporting motifs, creel shirts made especially for the angler that come complete with a rod holder built right into the shirt, and all-wool shirts and sweaters to keep the skier warm. Most outdoor clothing features layering to keep warm no matter what the weather. Woolrich also has a down-filled coat that actually fits into a built-in pouch for the backpacker to carry that is really lightweight.
Northern Casuals has winter coats for men and women and those fleece- lined wind pants that are so popular on the ski slopes, along with heavy sweaters and sweat shirts.
Norman's Ranch and Sportswear features Duofold ski underwear and winter caps that are hot this season, along with insulated sox. And if looking for the ultimate Christmas present, buy a ticket at Norman's on a chance to put a brand new Yamaha Kodiak ATV under your own Christmas tree. All proceeds go to the Montana State University-Northern Rodeo Club. The drawing is Saturday.
At Master Sports the hot item this season is skateboard skis. This is a skateboard on skis that will work really well on sidewalks, the college hill or at the Bear Paw Ski Bowl. The store also features lots of snowboards and skis. Mini skis are hot this year, especially with kids.
E-Fish-Hunt has a variable power spotting scope kit that is really hot this year. Usually they sell from five to six scope kits a year. This one has reached 58 sold and we're hardly into the season. For the gun person, both Remington and Winchester have a 300 short ultra mag. It is a whole new caliber for big game hunters. It is the same speed as a 300 Winchester Mag long action but with the length of a 308.
Maurice's has Columbia coats for men and women, which are hot for Christmas, along with gloves, hats and scarves.
At Herberger's the whole outdoors can be brought inside for Christmas with its Rustic Woods collection of Christmas decorations. Everything from woodsy Santas to pine cone trees are there to remind of the outdoors. Herberger's also has lots of down parkas good for hiking. They can be layered with a vest underneath. Give that special someone the 12 Days of Cocoa or Coffee to take with for warmth on the Montana ski slopes. Lots of gloves, hats, fleece and warm slippers here too.
Corral West features lined barn coats, cowboy hats and gloves for the person who has to work along with play outside. They have a bin for you to leave your old coats for needy kids in our area. Or maybe you really want to treat a needy kid and buy a new coat and throw it into that bin.
The Artist's Den has everything from homemade gun racks made out of horse shoes to boot butlers and decorative canoe paddles. It has unique oil lamps made from jars that work well for lighting the campground or tent.
At Kmart there are laser range finders that give you yardage from 10 to 800 yards. And there are global positioning systems which put you in touch with three satellites. Say you are in the middle of Beaver Creek Reservoir and the walleye are really biting, you can track your spot so you can return whenever you like to that exact spot. Or you can return to your exact campsite whenever you want. These are great for hunting expeditions. Then there are the Leatherman Multi-Tools. Hook one of the five they stock on your belt and you can fix most anything. You have heard of those cookers they use in New Orleans to deep fry turkeys. Kmart has them for Christmas as well.
And if all else fails, go to Sears and stock up on snowblowers.