(PRE-RELEASE REVIEW — FULL REVIEW COMING)
Rumors about this book have swirled like wind blasted powder over the past year. I’ve seen it, and am here to tell you it is amazing. Author/publishers Chris Davenport, Penn Newhard and Art Burrows scoured North America for images and stories that best communicate the state of the ski alpinism art on our continent. They succeeded.
The wealth of backcountry skiing options we have in North America is indeed incredible. Nonetheless, due to a number of factors many people look to Europe for the ultimate in ski alpinism options. That’s understandable, since western EU has about 100 times more huts and 100 times easier access. But things have changed. We’ve got more backcountry lodges. Aviation and snowmobile access have solved much of the access problem. It is time to show our stuff.
Organized around a variety of carefully selected peaks and routes, “50 Classic Ski Descents” is actually a compilation of several dozen author’s writing (including yours truly). Contributor’s were asked to pick a “classic” and write up something experiential about it. The stories are brief, but edited well and flow nicely with a variety of mind blowing photos, processed for paper/ink presentation by Art Burrows, who was using Photoshop back when most of us were still drawing on cave walls. I’m not kidding about the photos — make sure you haven’t skipped your hypertension meds when you crack this tome, otherwise you could stroke out.
Now all that said, the question has already been asked, “didn’t Lou already write that book?” Indeed, when these guys (who are all friends and WildSnow.com supporters) first came up with the concept I was wondering if they were just updating “Wild Snow,”.
“50 Classics” does include some of the same backcountry skiing routes as “Wild Snow.” But that’s where the similarities end. WildSnow is a deep history book with a bit of bonus material in the form of guidebook type information. “50 Classics” is a coffee table photo book, decorated by text from a variety of authors who provide a wide view of North American ski alpinism’s current state of art. Yes folks, you will need both books!
Publisher’s press release follows. We’ll publish a review just as soon as is appropriate for their production schedule.
The book is a large-format compilation of iconic and aesthetic ski descents from Alaska to Mount Washington. Created by ski mountaineers Chris Davenport, Art Burrows and Penn Newhard, Fifty Classic Ski Descents taps into the local knowledge of contributors such as Andrew McLean, Glen Plake, Lowell Skoog, Chic Scott and Ptor Spricenieks with first person descriptions of their favorite ski descents and insightful perspectives on ski mountaineering past, present and future. The book features 208 pages of gorgeous action and mountain images from many of North America’s top photographers. Whether you are planning an expedition to Baffin Island¹s Polar Star Couloir or heading out for dawn patrol on Mount Superior, Fifty Classic Ski Descents is a visual and inspirational feast of ski mountaineering in North America.
Books will be distributed by Wolverine Publishing beginning November 10, 2010, and available to pre-order at a 10% discount until November 1, 2010.
The book brings in many accomplished skiers including Hilaree O’Neill, Lou Dawson, Jimmy Chin, Chic Scott, Pete Patterson, Kristoffer Erickson, Lowell Skoog, Mark Synnott, Greg Hill, Kevin Quinn, Eric Pehota and others. Photographers include Christian Pondella, Will Wissman, Brad Washburn, Chris Figenshau, Keoki Flagg, Ruedi Homberger, Whit Richardson and Jonathan Selkowitz to name a few.
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.