What’s on your bedside table? Is it the latest blockbuster, a high-brow novel or some snowsport porn? There are a number of magazines and updates on the web to keep most of us occupied and the stoke high, but how many of you like a ripping good yarn to keep you entertained and enthralled? I love reading and getting lost in the characters and storyline; a great way to relax and get absorbed into another world. But what books are out there for us snowsport lovers? Take a look at some I have personally read.
Pretty Good for a Girl: The autobiography of a snowboarding pioneer: this depicts the story of Tiny Basich, an American snowboarder who was one of the first professional female riders. Her story carries us, first-hand, through the history of snowboarding from a female perspective; a really interesting and thoroughly enjoyable read. I enjoyed it so much I’ve actually read it twice.
Snowdrift: written by Irishwoman Lisa McGonigle, who takes us on her journey through Canada and New Zealand as a snowbum refining her snowboarding skills before taking up skiing. This adventure book gives a great insight into the passionate snow-seeker’s psyche, as well as including the often wry observation of Canadian life.
Cham: Jonathan Trigell has written a thriller based in Chamonix. The main character is not particularly pleasant and although fine to pass some time it wasn’t my favourite snow-based novel.
Making the Break: an entertaining non-fiction book which leads the reader on a rollercoaster of a ride through a family’s first season as chalet hosts. This book by Sarah Yuen made me laugh out loud in places, and their description and stereotyping of guests will make me think twice when I rock up at a chalet on my next holiday. If you are a doctor or a teacher you have been warned!
Cold a Long Time: an Alpine Mystery: an investigative story written by John Leake detailing the parents of Duncan McPherson’s quest to find out the truth about their son’s disappearance whilst snowboarding on the Stubai glacier in the summer of 1989. It takes twenty years for the shocking truth to be revealed. This disturbing but compelling book is thought-provoking and remained with me long after I finished reading it.
War and Piste: a good read by Alex Thomas about fictional Poppy Connors who travels to the Austrian Alps to do a season. You get everything thrown in from bars to boys, bonking to the backcountry. A light, easy and entertaining read which would make a good stocking filler.
Skiing the Edge: Humour, Humiliation, Holiness and Heart: a series of tales told by writers who contribute to well-known skiing publications compiled into one book by Jules Older. Each chapter tells a different story: some are comical and some are distressing; some will have you wincing and others will make you gasp out loud. It is a good, diverse mixture and although some stories will make more of an impression than others, they all give an insight into human nature and the snowsports culture.
Chalet Boy: the diary of my first ski season (aged 31): I found this to be a candid, gentle novel by Andy Smith which ultimately left me with a warm feeling. A light, unchallenging read, and for those readers who are over a certain age it proves you are never too old to do a season.
Belle de Neige: written anonymously by a young woman working in a resort depicts the rather more seedy side of being a seasonnaire. It is a forthright, no-holds-barred tale of winter life in the mountains. If you like gritty, no-nonsense women then this book is for you.
Clamped: this thriller depicts two lads snowboarding through a season in Courchevel. The author, David Blackwell, weaves the two main characters through an intriguing plot of dirty dealing, strange ancient artefacts and sexual encounters which culminates in an exciting chase down the mountains. A page-turner which pulls unexpected themes for a snowsport novel together; enjoyable if somewhat surprising.
Although the snowsport genre of writing either fiction or non-fiction is not large there are books available to keep us entertained and provide us with further insight into the snowsport industry including some of the darker aspects of the business. Most of the books can be found on Amazon either as an e-book ready to download or to order as a hard copy. Whilst you are waiting for the season to start why not immerse yourself in one of the snowsport-themed book above and get stoked feeling ready to pound the pistes, power through the powder and rip up the park.