More often than not, books written about skiing include over simplified instructional techniques on how the ski powder “like the pros” or “How to Herringbone with less energy exerted” (WTF is a Herringbone?). So instead of providing a list complete with Alpine Skiing For Beginners as #1, we’ve compiled a list of Unofficial picks for the unofficial skier. From hallucinations to kick turns and snow pits to mountain heroes… Here are the “Top 10 Books About Skiing.”
10. Climb to Conquer (Peter Shelton)
In 1941 the pieces for what would become one of the most elite infantry units in the United States’ Armed forces were arranged on a ski hill in Vermont. From Vermont, to Ski Cooper, to the Italian Alps, The 10th Mountain Division’s history is as prolific as it is astounding. Shelton’s account is a spellbinding story of war heroes operating under dire circumstances in some of the most extreme locales in the world… All of which takes place on skis and in the mountains.
9. Deep (Porter Fox)
Deep. There may not be a better descriptor in all of skiing. However, this in-depth look at the history of climate change and its impact on skiing’s future will wake up any skier to the reality that what we do as individuals and as a culture inevitably affects our mountains and the world on which they stand.
8. Ski Randonée (Dr. Jean Vives)
Ski Randonnée is an old school guide to ski touring and skiing in the backcountry. The book itself is an exploration of all the techniques involved in backcountry skiing and touring. From avalanche assessment to “Herringbone techniques,” (I know… WTF is a Herringbone?) this book is not only cheesy in a good way but it provides the most simplistic and nuanced advice that makes ski touring that much less frustrating.
Note: Pick up this book before taking your first Avalanche course.
7. In Search of Powder (Jeremy Evans)
In this notable look into ski bum culture, Jeremy Evans chronicles his life as a ski bum. From living in the Tahoe area post college, to a life changing stroke at the tender age of 26, and then back to the Tahoe area, Evans reflects on his own life in the context of ski bum culture. During his absence the culture had changed and continues to change to this day. What is ski bum culture and can it exist in the 21st century? Read to find out.
6. The Edge of Never (William Kerig)
Kye Petersen is the son of legendary big mountain pioneer Trevor Petersen. In this book, author William Kerig takes us on Kye’s journey to Chamonix, where his father Trevor passed away while skiing the Glacier Rond. In order to put his father’s ghost to rest and join the skiing tribe of which his father was a chief, Kye travels to Chamonix. During the course of his trip, Kye follows Glen Plake, Stéphane ‘FanFAn’ Dan, and Mike Hattrup and through their mentorship as well as trail and error, the once young gun explores the place that captures the spirituality of skiing’s greatest heroes.
5. Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain (Bruce Tremper)
Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain is like Snow Sense but with more detail. It’s a text-book that doesn’t read like a text-book. Instead, its information is displayed with great photos and insightful detail. It’s one of those books that backcountry skiers should revisit once a year if not more.
4. Ski the Whole Mountain (Eric and Rob Deslauriers)
Rob Deslauriers is the Obi Wan of skiing and his brother Eric might just be skiing’s less cocky version of Han Solo. Whatever the case, these two are some of the most accomplished skiers, mountaineers, and all around experts when it comes to sliding on snow. Ski the Whole Mountain is a skiers guide to skiing better without the gaper explanations. The book reads clear and easy and the ridiculous photography displayed throughout the text makes it that much better. Normally, I would never include an instructional guide on this list but it’s the details and their descriptions that can and will make a skier infinitely better if they heed its timeless guidance.
Link: Oh you think you’re the best skier on the mountain already? Nevermind then…
Buy Now: Ski the Whole Mountain
3. Squallywood AKA The Book of G.N.A.R. (Robb Gaffney, Scot Schmidt, and Shane McConkey)
BN’s, peeing mid line, and claiming farts inside the tram will all earn you extra credit points in the best game ever created. The brainchild of the Gaffney brothers and the late, great Shane McConkey, G.N.A.R. (Gaffney’s Numerical Assessment of Radness) is the only guidebook of its kind in the ski world. The meat and potatoes of it all… just send it you pussy!
2. Snow Sense (Jill Fredston and Doug Fesler)
This short summary of avalanche fundamentals is not only necessary but easy to read. The book, which can be read in a day, is a must for any skiing venturing beyond the ropes. Study up and stay alive.
1. Night Driving (Dick Dorworth)
Dick Dorworth is to skiing as Hunter S. Thompson is to the American Dream. Night Driving is a free-wheeling, no holds bar account of ski bumming across the western US and down the coast of South America. It’s both philosophical and based in action, giving ski bums a place in the literary world next to Kerouac’s Dharma Bums.
Link: Night Driving