Travel book transports readers to best places to ski, snowboard

Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:01pm EDT
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By Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Schussing down all the trails on the mountains described in the new book "Fifty Places to Ski & Snowboard Before You Die" would require living longer than a normal lifetime.

The book aims to chronicle the quintessential downhill experience, from the world-famous Swiss Alps and Colorado resorts to the lesser known slopes of Russia and New Zealand.

But even the reader who gets no farther than the couch can feel transported to the snow-covered peaks, mogul fields and sparkling expanses sculpted by the book's avalanche of quirky nuggets, insider tips and historical perspectives.

After writing nine other "Fifty Places" guides, author Chris Santella has the drill down. First, interview winter sports experts including Olympic skiers Jonny Moseley and Billy Kidd and dozens of snowboard and ski instructors and coaches.

Then, craft 50 tightly written profiles so vivid that readers can almost feel the sting of fresh powder on their cheeks and the anticipation of the next turn on a tree-lined trail.

The author details family-friendly American classics like Vermont's Stowe. The historic New England ski resort is praised for its range of trails and for being "a real town, not a resort with an access road."

After the first trails were cut in 1933, the nation's first ski patrol was established at Stowe. World class skiers like Kidd started on its beginner slopes, and eventually conquered the mountain's tough "Front Four" trails: Liftline, National, Starr and Goat.

The book is dominated by North America, which claims 33 of the 50 locales on the list. Among them is Colorado's Vail, one of North America's largest and most well-known resorts.   Continued...

A skier pauses before going down a run at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah in this January 27, 2011, file photo. REUTERS/Larry Rubenstein/Files