A few ideas of the gifting persuasion, as it’s getting down to the wire for Christmas stuff.
The history of skiing in any region ties in nicely with backcountry skiing, since most of our sport’s heritage is human powered. Thus, you won’t find any lack of ancestry in Peter Bronski’s new Colorado guidebook “Powder Ghost Towns.”
Even the name is a cool concept. I mean, what better moniker for a deserted ski resort than “Powder Ghost Town?”
Bronski’s book is organized with individual history and descriptions for 36 ghost towns. Each includes voluminous history that makes this one of the best armchair guidebooks I’ve seen. And once you leave the sitting position and slap on a pair of skins, you can tour Colorado and experience the added spice of skiing with ghosts.
(And, why can’t I have the word “ski” in my own last name? I mean, what’s up with that Peter?)
If the backcountry glisser on your list doesn’t already have ‘scrip for Backcountry Magazine, perhaps that’s an idea? This month’s issue is an excellent example of how those burly guys from the Vermont woods have dropped their maple syrup jugs, stopped cutting firewood, and instead are spending tons of time skiing and publishing about it. Inside you’ll find an interesting article on skiing the historical Chilkoot Trail in Alaska, and their selection of images for their “Photo Annual” is second to none.
Which leads me to the last and most tasty of today’s triad. Guidebooks take two basic forms. Tomes such as Bronski’s (or for that matter my now “classic” Wild Snow) use tons of ink to cover culture. Sometimes you like that, sometimes you just want the meat.
It’s the latter form that Dan Mingori and Nate Greenberg took with “Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra,” their new guide for some of the best and till now least documented ski mountaineering in North America. I’d call this a “no frills” guidebook, except with so much color photography and beautiful map work that would be a misnomer. “No bull” would be a better phrase.
Opening Mingori and Greenberg’s book is like taking a shotgun blast of snow to your face. After just a few dozen pages of intro material and obligatory advertising (no doubt to support the expense of using so much color printing), the route descriptions just go on, and on, and on. Incredibly crisp photos of nearly every line speak to the photographer’s skills and Wolverine Publishing’s expertise in modern color pre-press work. Each route has a data block, important access info, slope angle, and even a rating system.
Reminder: Yep, books are indeed a good bet for gifting. We constantly update our list of backcountry skiing books, with convenient buy links.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.