As we work through the last of our Thanksgiving leftovers, we begin the sprint through the holiday (read: gift-giving) season. As I have since starting with the Telegram in 2011, I’ve put together a gift guide for the skiers and snowboarders in your life. From stocking stuffers to splurges, these items (mostly Maine- and New England-made) are certain to satisfy even the pickiest person on your list.
Everyone needs to be prepared for their winter excursions. To that end, there’s the essential Maine Atlas and Gazetteer ($19.95, delorme.com) and Farmers’ Almanac ($6.79, farmersalmanac.com). The atlas covers every highway, road and cow-path in Maine, allowing skiers to plot that mythical short route to Sugarloaf from southern Maine. The almanac, not to be confused with the august Old Farmer’s Almanac, is based in Lewiston and has a greater focus on the Northeast.
Thus equipped, next comes apparel. Maine has a long tradition of high-quality, locally made clothing for winter. Since 2009, Chris Avantaggio’s LiveME brand has celebrated all things Maine. The SkiME pullover sweatshirt ($50, livememaine.com) is a cozy, super-soft fleece hoodie that offers that extra layer of warmth. LiveME also carries tees, hats and beanies with the same logo. Might and Main’s “1820 Collection,” inspired by Maine’s state motto Dirigo (“I lead”), is full of gear that fits in on Maine’s slopes. Particularly choice is a simple, stylish acrylic yarn Dirigo beanie ($25, might-main.com).
Closer to the skin, there are locally made base layers that trap in heat even during the coldest, darkest days. Kennebunk’s Ramblers Way, started by Tom’s of Maine cofounders Tom and Kate Chappell, produces high-quality, sustainably made wool clothing. Among their products are 5.5-ounce wool long johns ($100, ramblersway.com), incredibly warm, odor repellant long underwear made from superfine wool.
I also need to plug L.L. Bean’s Polartec Power Dry stretch base layers ($44.95, llbean.com), which I wear on every excursion under my outerwear. It’s easily the most comfortable, most effective base layer I’ve ever owned.
On the hard-goods side of the equation, Biddeford’s 32north has solved the eternal problem of winter boots that work fine in snow, yet slip on ice. Their Stabilicer cleats ($21.95 and up, 32north.com) fit snugly over shoes and boots, providing traction on ice without messing up your stride. They’re essential for that walk from the parking lot to the base lodge at any resort. A bigger splurge is skis from Lucid Skis ($500 and up, lucidskis.com), one of a handful of Maine-based ski producers. Lucid Skis started in Kingfield about six years ago but has recently expanded, brought on new partners and relocated south to Gray. The company offers a number of models, from wide, light powder and backcountry skis to narrower all-mountain models.
Though it’s not something I could source locally, a tuning kit is a safe bet for anyone on your list. Without breaking the bank, Dakine’s Quick Tune tuning kit ($50, Dakine.com) includes everything a skier or rider could need. The kit includes all-temperature wax, a scuff pad, an edge tool, a triangle scraper and a torque screwdriver with five bits and a 8/10-mm wrench, with a how-to tuning pamphlet. The deluxe kit, $10 more, includes a file and gouge-repairing P-Tex.
Finally there’s the gifts that, while not physical goods, make for thoughtful and practical gestures. A membership to the Ski Museum of Maine ($25, skimuseumofmaine.org) or New England Ski Museum ($35, newenglandskimuseum.org) does a huge part in keeping those organizations solvent, and in preserving the history of the sport in our region. Ski Maine’s $399 Maine Mountain Pass (skimaine.com) contains 28 lift ticket vouchers, two tickets to each of 11 destination areas and three regional areas. Lift ticket vouchers purchased through Liftopia (liftopia.com) provide deep discounts on day passes to areas in Maine (and throughout the country), some north of 70 percent.
Time is already getting short for picking up presents for the holidays. Equipped with this list, you can not only cover everyone, but can feel good knowing what you’re giving is coming from here in New England.
Josh Christie is a freelance writer and lifetime outdoors enthusiast. He shares column space in Outdoors with his father, John Christie. Josh can be contacted at: