Fine new E-anthology captures the good, the bad and the questionable of the ski life
Like fly fishing, skiing is a sport, an avocation, a way of life that has spawned fine writing. Editor/writer/author Jules Older, himself one of the most talented scribes about the lifestyle that has grown around the activities of sliding on snow, assembled an anthology of essays by, as he put it, “the people whom I consider the finest snow writers in North America.” He published them as an E-book called Skiing The Edge.
The writers whom he chose and who in turn chose to contribute poured their articulate hearts out about a range of very personal skiing and ski-related experiences. There are memories of making those first tentative (and sometimes painful) turns. There the obligatory odes the steep, deep and/or narrow runs that most people would consider too perilous to contemplate — of avalanches and white-outs and other situations that cause non-skiers to head for a palm-studded beach but make skiers’ hearts beat faster at the thought of the challenge and the thrill.
Some of the true stories in Skiing The Edge are set in places where millions have skied (Stowe, Whistler, Snowbird) and others in places few of us have visited, let alone skied (Bolivia, Lebanon). Fear, courage, exhilaration, addiction are some of the emotions that skiing evokes, and I loved reading every well-crafted word — some twice.
As I read essay after essay, I wondered what I would have written if Jules had invited me to submit something. Would I have written about having had to “audition” to be permitted to ski Chamonix’s epic Vallée Blanche? Perhaps “skiing” Snowbird before a single lift had been installed — an Easterner who had never seen powder, bottomless or any other kind, before being deposited atop Hidden Peak by helicopter? Or the sweet parental joy of having my three-year-old son display the enthusiasm for skiing that he usually reserved for He-Man, Skeletor and other “Masters of the Universe” figures?
The book can be previewed free and purchased for $3.99 through iTunes to be read on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iBooks and on a computer. Books must be read on an iOS device. The Kindle edition is available from amazon.com for just $3.39. Since I don’t have an iAnything, I downloaded to my computer, printed it out and stapled the pages. It makes for great bedside reading — a story or two a night before lights-out.