The one day I never go shopping is the day after Thanksgiving. Actually, I never go shopping. I go out and buy things, but I don’t shop. I can hang around a ski shop, but that’s not shopping. That’s research.

Ski shops aren’t as bad as malls, but even there, I pick my days when the places won’t be packed. But it’s time to get started. If you wait until tomorrow, there are only 28 days left, and at least eight of those should be spent skiing.

If you’re like me, a half day is enough skiing early in the season. That allows me to visit the ski shop in the afternoon. Having done some research, I can share some ideas with you for the skier on your list.

At the top of my list this year is a new book. Few writers could have compiled “The Story of Modern Skiing” from personal knowledge, but John Fry is uniquely qualified. As editor in chief of Ski, and founding editor of Snow Country, Fry not only skied during the sport’s development years, he recorded it for others. He was instrumental in the creation of NASTAR competition, the Nation’s Cup of Alpine ski racing and Graduated Length Method of ski teaching.

Fry draws on his personal relationships the people who built the resorts, invented the modern skis and boots, created the competitions and won the races. By including the stories of Billy Kidd, Jean Claude Killy, Howard Head, Serge Lang and dozens of others, the story is personalized and reads far easier than most histories. And, there are plenty of Maine names in the book – the role of Bunny Bass and the Bass ski boots, Amos Winter and Sugarloaf, and Doc Desroches and Ski Industries of America.

“The Story of Modern Skiing” belongs under every serious skier’s tree this Christmas. It’s perfect after a day of skiing. (University Press of New England. $27.95. www.upne.com)

It might not be in the budget to pay for a ski vacation, but for $24.95, you can get him or her a copy of Charlie Leocha’s Ski Snowboard America. Charlie and his team have researched resorts throughout the U.S. and Canada and detailed information about the skiing, lodging, dining and amenities.

Your skier can plan a luxury experience or find economy accommodations with this book. Buying lift tickets at bargain rates is explained, so skiers can save with packages, multi-day tickets and offseason pricing. Even though I have skied many of the resorts included, I alwayslearn something and use the book as a reference. Charlie also has a European version. Check www.skisnowbard.com.

There are plenty of other suggestions. Skis and boots are best handled with gift certificates at a good ski shop, because these items are such individual choices. Certificates for lift tickets are easy and can be purchased over the phone or online.

If you have stockings to fill, there are numerous selections. If he tunes his own skis, a packet of wax is always welcome. For $20, you can purchase the Edge Trick, a small device used in taking burrs out of edges. For those who would rather leave the tuning to someone else, a gift certificate for a ski tune runs $25-50, depending on the shop and the type tune. Other inexpensive items include Chapsticks and heat packets for warming hands.

One $15-20 item is ski socks. My choice is Smartwool, a thin sock that wicks away moisture and works well in snug fitting boots. Every skier could use another pair or two.

These are a few ideas. A trip to your ski shop will find plenty more.

Then there is the best present of all, and we got it this past week. Temperatures in the teens and 20s hit the mountains, and we were assured that the season would be underway for this long holiday weekend. That gave the ski area operators something to be thankful for.

The season is now under way, so enjoy it on the slopes and in the shops.


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