After a longer than usual offseason, the lifts are now spinning at a few of Maine’s resorts.

As skiers and snowboarders are pulling out their dusty gear bags, they are no doubt realizing that some of their equipment has gone missing or at least isn’t in the shape it used to be. Thankfully the holiday season is fast approaching, and the time for the annual “Skiing in Maine” gift guide has come. Here’s a few options for the hard-to-buy-for skiers and riders on your list.

A note: In the past, I’ve themed this guide around things like Maine-made objects or luxury items. This year I’m going the cheap route. Rather than gifts that will set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars, I’m recommending only gifts that are under $99.99. Save that extra money for gas and hot cocoa this season.

‘Freedom Found,’ by Warren Miller

($29.95, warrenmiller.net)

For six decades, Warren Miller has acted as skiing’s de facto ambassador, promoting the sport in more than 50 films. In “Freedom Found,” Miller tells his life story through a personal lens, spanning from Depression-era Hollywood to today. It’s a surprising and touching story – Miller went through more personal tragedy than I’d realized – buoyed by the director’s unflinching optimism and sense of humor.

Booster Straps

($36.95–44.95, boosterstrap.com)

I discovered Booster Straps last season and they’ve been a revelation. To grossly simplify, the Booster is an elastic strap that fits snugly at the top of your ski boots, wrapping around the outside of the shell and along the tongue. The effect is a boot that feels dramatically firmer and tighter, and responds much more quickly to pressure. The response from turn toturn feels like a whole new pair of boots. The straps come in three levels of firmness, from the softer Intermediate to the super-firm “World Cup.”

Black Diamond Binding Buddy

($9.95, blackdiamondequipment.com)

Venturing into the backcountry or just want to be able to make adjustments on the fly? This Black Diamond multitool stores five bits in its palm-sized handle, making in an indispensable all-in-one problem solver. At only a quarter of a pound, it’s a pocketable tool you can forget about until you absolutely need it.

Saxx Underwear Co. Long Johns

($49.95, saxxunderwear.com)

Two relative constants in the world of men’s long underwear are that, utility aside, it’s uncomfortable and ugly as sin. Underwear manufacturing upstart Saxx Underwear Co. has made long johns that are effective, comfy and stylish. The secret is the viscose fabric, a plant cellulose natural fiber blend that is soft and moisture-wicking. Patterns like “Ugly Ski Sweater” make it suitable for apres-ski as well as the slopes.

Liftopia Gift Card

($5-$100+, liftopia.com)

Since its founding in 2005, Liftopia has become the premier place to buy discounted lift tickets online. It offers discount prices on advance purchase of tickets, sometimes as steep as 70 percent off. Liftopioa works with resorts around the world, including about a half-dozen here in Maine. Rather than risk buying someone a ticket for a date they can’t use, pick up a gift card for someone’s stocking. They can be purchased in any denomination you’d like starting at $5.

Hydro Flask 20oz Coffee Mug

($27.95, hydroflask.com)

Need hot java on the slopes? Hydro Flask’s mugs have incredible staying power, keeping hot beverages hot for six hours and cold beverages cold for up to 24. Made with Pro Grade Stainless Steel and BPA-Free and Phalate-Free, they won’t leech flavors or hold onto off-flavors if you forget your mug in your boot bag for a month.

Dakine Heli Pack 12L Backpack

($70, dakine.com)

I know some people consider it gauche to ski or ride with a backpack, but I wouldn’t hit the hill without one. No backpack could be all things to all people, but Dakine’s Heli Pack comes darn close. It’s low-volume at 12L (literally 12 liters), but packs in amenities like an insulated hydro sleeve, goggle pocket and a rescue whistle. It’s small and flat on the back, which means you’re less likely to bonk your neighbors on a chair lift. And with straps for either a vertical snowboard carry or diagonal ski carry, it frees your arms when you’re headed into the side- or backcountry.

Red Bull Media House Film Collection

($99, redbullshopus.com)

Most years I use this gift guide to recommend one or two of the big recent ski movie releases, which usually retail for about $30 a pop. This year, I’m going for a bigger bang for your buck – a dozen full-length blu-rays for under $100. Half the films are ski and snowboard flicks, including the excellent documentary “McConkey.” The rest feed adrenaline junkies’ other interests, like surfing, mountain biking, kayakingand motocross.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer in Portland. Along with his brother, Jake, he writes about great Maine destinations for outdoors enthusiasts. Josh can be reached at:

[email protected]


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