With easily the most extensive and high-quality selection of gear in town, this enormous store hasn't just cornered the Boston ski market, it is the Boston ski market. It's got everything a powder hound could ask for, including the latest and greatest skis, boots, bindings, gear, and helmets. Prices are fair (and during the end-of-season sales, dirt cheap), and the informed staff is comprised of helpful, die-hard skiers. What's more, the year-ground repair and tuning shop renders the store an all-inclusive resource. 860 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA .
You want body-building protein supplements, it's got 'em all. Plus, it gives conspicuous consumption a good name: The money you spend on your selfish obsession with your body goes to support people living with HIV. 29 Stanhope St., Boston, MA .
Suburban commuters who work downtown will be thrilled to find Boston AudioBooks. This store carries a wide selection—including fiction, self-help, mystery, and science fiction—that can be bought or rented. Note: You must become a member to rent audio books—the onetime fee is $10. 80 Arch St., Boston, MA .
When Zayna Gold tells you to do a pushup, you do it. You do it because she's an expert in forging top-condition bodies, because she's always at the cutting edge of new fitness moves and methods and because her devotion to you breeds your devotion to her. With more than 15 years of Pilates experience, hundreds of devoted clients, and multiple feather in her professional cap (including an appointment as trainer for Self magazine's 2002 fitness challenge), Gold has reached near-celebrity status. 364 Boylston St., Boston, MA bostonbody.com/.
Thanks to a two-year, $68 million renovation of the former Boston Police Department headquarters, Jurys's wall of trickling water, sparkling elevators, lavish suites, and stunning marble bathrooms (with heated towel racks) are a far cry from the holding cells of yesteryear. A sizable accumulation of contemporary Irish art and a helpful staff lend European class to these very American quarters. 350 Stuart St., Boston, MA .
Aspiring Olympians and weekend skaters alike love the Skating Club's year-round professionally run programs. And unlike facilities geared to hockey players, where gear insulates skaters against the chill, this rink is climate-controlled, so little Nancy Kerrigan wannabes can wear cute costumes for their workouts. 1240 Soliders Field Road, Brighton, MA .
They start up again in the fall, they're free, and the guides are straight out of Boston Brahmin Central Casting. Delightful. 10 1/2 Beacon St., Boston, MA .
Boston doesn't yet have that one great health club, but in the meantime, BAC is the best thing in town. There are basketball, tennis, racquetball, and squash courts galore, not to mention the basics such as Nautilus and aerobics. It also offers cardio-boxing, golf, a hair salon, chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists. 653 Summer St., Boston, MA .
Something about the way the light from the fireplace hits this wood-paneled room sharpens the taste buds. And something about the cushy, tapestry-covered seating relaxes the senses. The unfettered view of the Public Garden and the unapologetically clubby setting, complete with hunting paintings—it all adds up nicely. But the real old-school gem, the real relaxation, is in the icy gin martini, perfectly blended and balanced, and served smooth with zero burn. Ritz-Carlton, Boston, 15 Arlington St., Boston, MA .
At BCAE, you can learn everything from beadmaking to digital filmmaking. And that's just scratching the surface. In each case, you'll find a friendly atmosphere in classes taught by professionals: The burlesque course, for one, is led by dancers from Rogue Burlesque, who perform at the A.R.T.'s Oberon and other hip spots. 122 Arlington St., Boston, MA bcae.org.
Most of Boston's pool halls either reek of arrogance—or just plain reek. Yet year after year, Boston Billiard Club preserves its place among the city's best. This year, even in the wake of a new wave of trendier joints, Boston Billiard still prevails. With 42 tables, a mellow atmosphere, and a hodgepodge crowd with more than just meat on their minds, Boston Billiard keeps on rackin' 'em up. 126 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA .
On the social faux pas scale, making a fool of yourself on the dance floor ranks second only to bad karaoke. And with dance so popular these days, your chances of blowing it publicly are increasing exponentially. What to do? Sign up for a class at the Boston Center for Adult Education, where sympathetic and experienced instructors will have you gliding like Astaire in a matter of weeks—for under $100. And you don't have to have a partner to enroll. 5 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA .
A huge industrial loft in Woburn, the Boston Rock Gym is carpeted with 20 tons of chopped-up car tires, the walls are studded with tiny gargoyles, dinosaurs, and rocklike footholds, and the place looks like a preppy torture chamber. One of the best-equipped climbing gyms in all of New England, the rock gym has 30 different climbing routes of varying complexity, ranging from beginner to impossible. Check out Hades—a bouldering cave in which climbers hang upside down, suspended by their fingers and toes—as well as the Treadwall (imagine a treadmill that's a vertical wall). Patient instructors keep an eye out for your safety and offer group classes and individual instruction. 78G Olympia Ave., Woburn, MA .
Okay, maybe the quacking can get on your nerves, but Boston Duck Tour's 80-minute trips do everything the others do by land, and then more. In renovated World War II amphibious vehicles, sightseers get plopped into the Charles so they can see the city the way the, uh, ducks do. Depart from the Huntington Avenue side of the Prudential Center, Boston, MA .
Crummy roadside location? Check. Severely limited menu? Check. The most ridiculously good hot dogs you'll ever stuff in your hungry maw? Double check. Marinated in apple cider, Boston Speed dogs are grilled, then topped with anything from chili sauce to cranberry relish. A smart slash down the middle of the dog helps condiments stay put, and the hearty Portuguese roll sops up all the tasty juices. 43 Newmarket Sq., Roxbury, MA 2118, bostonsuperdog.com.