Often called the Rolls-Royce of alpine sports, Foil has outdone itself with its limited-edition Oro-Amaranto Jackie Chan skis ($42,000). Tuned to the specifications of the veteran action star, who is both a fine skier and a collector of rare woods, these outrageously luxurious foot-extenders have 14-karat-gold-plated bindings and are made from purpleheart, a hardwood prized for its density, water resistance, and beautiful color. Foil also makes skis from Bog Oak — culled from trees buried in peat bogs and thus preserved for up to 8,000 years. The company is working now to develop a high-performance ski made of solid gold.
There are countless high-tech gadgets that promise a better night's sleep, but the best solution could be the simplest. The Gravity Blanket ($229) is a blanket filled with up to 25 pounds of plastic beads, so it virtually pins you to your mattress. Lying under it "feels like being swaddled as a baby, or wrapped up in a toasty tortilla like a human burrito." The theory is that the downward pressure activates the sympathetic nervous system, inducing relaxation. Whatever the science, "it's comforting to be grounded by such a large, soft presence," and it really cuts down on tossing and turning.
You don't need a pond to enjoy backyard skating anymore. EZ Ice ($1,900) is a skating rink in a kit that can be set up in 60 minutes or less on any relatively flat surface, with no assembly tools required. Each kit contains snap-together panels, brackets, and a liner, and you can order custom dimensions or choose from seven standard sizes, up to and including a $14,900 rink big enough for a regulation NHL game. Once all the pieces are assembled, all you need is a hose — and about a weeklong cold spell.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Nestlé has unveiled a pink KitKat — the first commercially available product made from so-called ruby chocolate. Last September, a Swiss company announced it had discovered a fourth type of chocolate — after dark, milk, and white — while working with ruby cocoa beans, which produce a distinct berry flavor. Nestlé's new treat, officially called the KitKat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby (about $4), can't be bought in stores outside Japan or South Korea, but Americans can order it online from Japan, where KitKats are so popular they're available in more than 300 different flavors, including green tea, cherry blossom, wasabi, and even sushi.
The next time you promise someone the moon, you'll actually be able to follow through. The Lunar Pro ($219), from San Francisco–based AstroReality, is an "astonishingly" detailed hand-painted replica of Earth's satellite made of solid polyresin, and "it's as much a work of art as it is a learning tool." Each orb "feels satisfyingly heavy when you pick it up," and all the tactile details — craters, plains, extinct volcanoes — derive from precise NASA data. Paired with an app that supplies information about every centimeter of surface, the Lunar Pro has suddenly become "the best way to explore the moon if you don't have an Apollo-size budget."
Compared to a pet rock, a marimo moss ball ($14 for six) might strike you as a lively companion. Each small green orb is made of living algae that grows in a sphere, and when cared for, it will grow larger ever so slowly and can live 100 years. Though marimo, or "ball seaweed," grows in lakes throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the Japanese led the way in bringing the balls home and nurturing them. Legend has it that the first marimo balls were the hearts of two star-crossed lovers, and every one since supposedly has the power to discern true love. "All you need is one touch of the plush, velvety surface to get hooked."
A Bic will get the job done, but this "nearly matchless piece of machinery" could be the ultimate tool for lighting a cigar. Made by the Paris-based luxury brand S.T. Dupont, the Complication Lighter ($41,000) consists of 200 interlinking parts, "most of which are visible through its skeletonized body." The case and working parts are finished in palladium or yellow gold and adorned with a diamond and nine rubies. A two-digit combination code unlocks the lid, and wheels spin as the cap opens and closes. Sliding knobs adjust the flame from a soft plume to an intense jet.
Enjoying a cup of coffee has always been a balancing act: First, you might have to wait for it to cool; then you have to drink it before it gets cold. The Ember Ceramic Mug ($80) does away with that hassle by keeping your brew at its optimal temperature — 136 degrees, according to scientific studies — for hours on end. The mug has heating elements in its walls that adjust constantly to create convection currents and maintain a uniform temperature throughout. Though the mug may seem extravagantly priced, "if you're a heavy javahead, there's nothing more satisfying than never getting a bad sip."