Summer School: Mandatory Reading for Skiers // Helpful Hints
Alright guys, it’s official: we’re in the thick of it. With the Summer Solstice just over a week behind us, we’re in the midst of some of the hottest, longest days of the year. As skiers, this makes our snowy memories seem about as real as a snow dome covering Jay Peak. Don’t get us wrong, there are tons of ways to pass the time. In fact, it’s something we wrote about at this time last year. Still, for some people our previous suggestions might not be strong enough. The most die hard skiers probably need something more powerful than any drug or summer activity could give them: Imaginationland.
“But how,” you ask? Through the power of books of course! As avid
nerds readers will tell you, there’s nothing more stimulating for the mind than immersing yourself in a good book. Of course, it’s a sentiment that we tend to agree with as reading has a way of making the hours pass without notice. So with that, we give you 5 essential reads for skiers this summer!
#1: Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek - John Branch:
First up on our list isn’t actually a book, it’s simply a long article from the New York Times. Consider this your warmup lap. As you may or may not know, a devastating avalanche occurred at Stevens Pass back in February 2012 that killed three notable ski industry insiders. Ten months after the tragic event, the New York Times released and article called, “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” This article is an incredible interactive experience that combines captivating story telling with videos and graphics that immerse you in the story. Following the article’s release, it won numerous awards, including the 2013 Pulitzer Price for Feature Writing. If you’re looking for something free and quick to pass an hour or so, we highly recommend checking this article out.Read it Here
#2: Wine, Women, Warren, & Skis - Warren Miller:
Warren Miller. The man needs no introduction. A legend in the world of ski film making, Warren Miller’s combination of story telling, filmography, and buttery voice have been captivating audiences since his first film, “Deep and Light” back in 1950. Over the years, Miller has told countless stories through his narrated films in ways that effortlessly convey what it means to be a devote skier to those who may only make it to the resorts occasionally. Somewhat lesser known are the small collection of books he’s authored. None of which is more entertaining or hilarious than his freshman effort. “Wine, Women, Warren, & Skis.” What makes this read so special, is that it captures a youthful, hilarious, and at times mischievous Miller that has either either been neglected of forgotten over the years. Between Miller’s energetic and at times scattered writings, “Wine, Women, Warren, & Skis,” you’ll find yourself laughing and day dreaming through a long summer day.Available Here
#3: Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow - Porter Fox:
Looking for a ski themed book that’s also thought provoking and tied into modern events? Then “Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow” is the one for you. After being successfully funded on Kickstarter back in November of 2013, Porter Fox released this book to widely favorable reviews, with endorsements from winter athletes such as Jeremy Jones to climate change activists like Bill McKibben (Co-Founder of 350.org). In the book, Fox reviews the history of skiing while turning an eye to the sport’s future if the trajectory of climate change remains. Along the way he shares perspectives from skiers, snowboarders, and whose lifestyle revolves around mountain culture to paint a global picture of where we stand today. If climate change is of interest or concern to you and you’re looking to learn more, then this is absolutely one to read.Available Here
#4: Climb to Conquer: The Untold Story of WWII’S 10th Mountain Division - Peter Shelton:
Imagine if you will: The year is 1945. You’re on skis made of wood, in leather boots, and your bindings are a crudely conceived combination of leather and metal. On your back is a gun. A big, 20 pound Browning Automatic Rifle along with another 20 pounds of .30 caliber ammunition. You’re currently switchbacking your way up the West side of Mount Belvedere, Italy in an order to establish a defensive stronghold against Axis forces.
It sounds like something out of Hollywood or a great fiction novel, right? Well, it’s actually just part of the story of the 10th Mountain Division- a special division of the U.S. army that was established during World War II to fight on rugged, mountainous terrain. The story of the division is fascinating, and no book tells it quite as vividly as "Climb to Conquer." If you’re 1 part skier, 1 part history buff, then find a copy of this book, a comfortable chair, and prepare to not get up until you’ve flipped through all 288 pages.Available Here
#5: In Search of Powder: A Story of America’s Disappearing Ski Bum - Jeremy Evans:
Rounding out our list of summer reads is this book from Jeremy Evans, a snowboard bum turned career man turned snowboard bum. If you’re part of an older generation of skier, then you already know that the hey days of ski bum culture are in the past. Combine that with the recent news that ski town suicide rates are disturbingly high, and that Jackson, WY has the biggest wealth disparity in the United States, and we’re left with an entirely different idea of what modern life as a ski bum means. In “In Search of Powder,” Jeremy Evans takes a deeper look at these topics, shining a light on the evolving economic and cultural changes currently underway in ski towns as they change from places of counter culture to areas of extreme wealth and leisure. Of course Evans tells the story of specific people in ski towns, highlighting the growing contrast between those who come to follow their passion, and those who come to follow the profits. While we can’t say this book will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside, it’s still a great read for skiers and ski bums of the past, present, and future who desire a wider view of modern day ski culture.Available Here
Looking for one last read? Check out this article from Tim Neville about the resurrection of Kosovo’s ski culture. And on that note, what do you think? Are there any books or ski reads that we missed or you’d suggest for our list? Let us know in the comments below!