With down-time aplenty, we need to avoid staying glued to Netflix. By switching things up with a good book about skiing, we can stay sharp, fulfilled, and most of all, retain our sense of adventure throughout this lock down. With that spirit in mind, Ski.com has compiled a list of the best ski books, all of which are chock full of adventure in mountains.
From autobiographies to fiction, histories to chronicles, these are some of the most heralded works whose subject matter includes skiing, snow, the mountains, and travel. Seeing as he was there at the beginning, might we recommend Warren Miller’s Freedom Found? Told by the godfather of skiing himself, Warren’s inimitable sense of humor is ever present in this effortless read that balances the transcendent and tragic moments of the legend’s life.
*SUPPORT LOCAL: All books can be purchased directly or special ordered via The Tattered Cover book store in Denver, Colorado.
Warren Miller is known as skiing’s greatest storyteller and as the godfather of action-sports film making. Now, here at last, is the rest of his extraordinary life story–and what happened behind the camera is even more remarkable than what you saw on the big screen. In this soul-searching autobiography, Warren revealed the secrets of his past and the peaks and valleys he navigated in bringing the sport he loves to audiences worldwide. Freedom Found is a must-read for Warren’s legion of fans, ski history enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies and anyone whose interest is piqued by an extraordinary 20th-century success story. This is a heartwarming and at times heart-wrenching account of an American innovator who did it his own way, understood the importance of making people laugh, and never looked back.
At the start of World War II, the US Army had two cavalry divisions—and no mountain troops. The German Wehrmacht, in contrast, had many well-trained and battle-hardened mountain divisions, some of whom by 1943 blocked the Allied advance in the Italian campaign. Starting from scratch, the US Army developed a unique military fighting force, the 10th Mountain Division, drawn from the ranks of civilian skiers, mountaineers, and others with outdoor experience. The resulting mix of Ivy League students, park rangers, Olympic skiers, and European refugees formed the first specialized alpine fighting force in US history. By the time it deployed to Italy at the beginning of 1945, this ragtag group had coalesced into a tight-knit unit. In the months that followed, at a terrible cost, they spearheaded the Allied drive in Italy to final victory.
Ranging from the ski slopes of Colorado to the towering cliffs of the Italian Alps, The Winter Army is a saga of an unlikely band of soldiers forged in the heat of combat into a brotherhood whose legacy lives on in US mountain fighters to this day.
In this existential piece that ranges from personal essays to philisophical musings, Deep Powder Snow is Dolores LaChapelle’s deep dive into what it means to be a skier, metaphysically speaking. Honest, transcendant and in some cases, troubling, this chronicle offers a look into the soul of someone who is utterly consumed by the nature that surrounds the sport they love.
Arguably the greatest extreme skier to ever live, Doug Coombs pioneered hundreds of first descents down the biggest, steepest, most dangerous mountains in the world–from the Grand Teton “Otter Body” in Jackson Hole, to Mount Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica, to far-flung drops such as Wyatt Peak in Kyrgyzstan. He graced magazine covers, wowed moviegoers, became the face of top ski companies, and ascended as the king of big mountain extreme skiing. His place at the top was confirmed in 1991 when he won the very first World Extreme Ski Competition in Valdez, Alaska.Now, his story is told for the first time in Robert Cocuzzo’s Tracking the Wild Coomba. From the slopes of his childhood in New England; to the steep chutes of his early career in Montana and Wyoming; to the deep, avalanche-prone powder of his guiding years in Alaska; and, ultimately, to the terrifying terrain of the French Alps, Coombs’s greatness was in how he skied. What most people didn’t know was that Coombs skied so perfectly in part because he had no other choice–at the age of 16 he crashed off a jump in New Hampshire and broke his neck. Doctors said it was a miracle he wasn’t paralyzed, and that another bad fall could kill him. Many believe it was this second chance that inspired the extraordinary life he led until his tragic death in 2006, the result of an attempted rescue of a fellow skier.
Chris Davenport – Ski The 14’ers | A Visual Tribute to Colorado’s 14.000-Foot Peaks from the Eyes of a Ski Mountaineer
Between January 22, 2006 and January 19, 2007, Aspen’s Chris Davenport completed a remarkable journey. He skied all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks within one year. Ski The 14ers tells the story of Chris Davenport’s epic adventure through stunning photography and first hand trip reports of Colorado’s most spectacular mountains and ranges.
DEEP is a book about skiers, written and produced by lifelong skiers, with a message that reaches far beyond the slopes we draw inspiration from. It covers a sport that has inspired millions and the mountains and snowfall that make it possible. It is not a tale of the end. It is a beginning – a reminder of how dynamic and fulfilling the skiing life is. And a wake-up call regarding what needs to be done to save it. The narrative follows the unlikely rise of skiing from prehistoric Norwegian hunters to nobility in the Alps in the 1800s to present-day freeriders on the vaunted slopes of the Rocky Mountains. On his global tour of the most celebrated peaks in the Northern Hemisphere, from Washington’s Cascade Range to Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, Fox talks to alpinists about the allure and mysticism of the sport and to scientists about climate change and its effect on snow-ultimately finding a story that is far larger than the impending demise of skiing. For the seven million skiers in America who dedicate their winters to tracking storms and waking up at dawn to catch the first chairlift, the lifestyle change will be radical. It will likely be far worse for the rest of the world. Fox uses primary evidence and interviews, mixed with groundbreaking scientific studies, to explain exactly how and when the Great Melt will play out, the vital importance snow and ice have to Earth’s climate system and the tremendous groundswell that is rising up to fight climate change. DEEP goes on to map a way to mitigate global warming, reduce human impact on our planet and repair the water cycle. As it turns out, the efforts to save snow and ice might end up saving the world.
The God of Skiing, a breakthrough novel by award-winning journalist Peter Kray, is being celebrated as the most accurate, action-packed, soul-stirring book ever written about the sport of skiing. Reveling in the exploits of the legendary Tack Strau, an iconic East Coast racer whose stunning wins and spectacular crashes made him an instant celebrity on the NCAA race circuit, the book reads like a love letter to a sport built on gravity, speed, and the heartbreaking thrill of cold acceleration. When Strau suffers a potentially fatal fall after being signed by the U.S. Ski Team, then disappears, the book takes off on a whirlwind tour of the sport’s most storied slopes in an effort to find him.