When I got back from New Zealand, the book 50 Classic Descents of North America was one of the many items in the large box I received from the postmaster, after having my stopped for over a month. Psyched to be home, I hammered through the pages quickly, taking in the stunning photography and dreaming of more adventures to far off lands. It wasn’t until a couple weeks later, after I had caught back up with home life, that I dove into the book deeper, reading many of the entries as I drifted off to sleep in hopes of ski dreams.
Baffin Island, one of my dream destinations. Photos Andrew Mclean/Whit Richardson.
In the end, that’s what this book is about. Letting our mind wander as we take in what many ski legends say about some of the most, beautiful, challenging and remote peaks of North America. The first hand accounts of many of the descents, some of them firsts, are great to read and the profiles are just as interesting. Add in some of the best mountain images I’ve seen and you have a recipe for success and this book delivers.
50 Classics packs as much stoke as three GU Energy gels.
The book itself is quite large and at over 200 pages, its’ rather thick as well. And no page goes to waste, as one could probably easily double the number of routes, peaks and photos in the book, and still leave folks like you and I wanting more. The problem with a book like this…a good one to have though.
Some of the selections can be a little tricky to swallow as a “classic descent”, but North America is a big continent and one’s man’s classic, might be another man’s death wish, or another mans gravy run. It’s all about perspective. And since each of us has our own perspective, and the fact that there is no solid cut and dry measure for a classic descent, selecting 50 ski runs, from so many great regions of North America can be rather challenging I’m sure. I kind of wonder how much debate went on in the back room as the authors, Chris Davenport, Art Burrows and Penn Newhard, added and subtracted mountains from the master list.
Mount Robson…classic or death wish? Photo: John Walsh.
This book is definitely a staple for the skier in all of us, not matter if your are a sponsored gift child or a ski bum couch-surfing for the winter. Lucky for us, the book is put together well enough to keep our attention, whether it’s the first time or 100th time we flip through its pages. If you are thinking about getting this book, stop thinking and pull the trigger. You will not be disappointed.
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Definitely on the Christmas List! There was a good debate over on Wildsnow of the merits of including heli-assist runs in this book.
Also, you can obviously get into what is “classic”, but to me, somewhat of a waste of time as you note above. What I consider more classic in the Sierra can be definitely different than the guy/gal sharing the skin track with me.
60 bucks??? Hope the library gets this.
good one bnk. but this is a HUGE book and twice the size the fourteeners book…and i think worth $60.
nick…i agree 100%. i didn’t read lou’s post…but all that talk is just hot air. of course we all think we are experts…but in the end its up to the authors to decide. AND…i think other things, like having good photos of the peaks/routes,might have also played a part in the selection process.
regardless…the book is really nice.
I have a review copy of the Classics Descents book for someone who wants to write a real book review for The Avalanche Review. Up to 1000 words, need to be somewhat literate. Leave me a note here, if that’s ok with Rando.
I like that there’s no ads 😉
Probably everybody would have a different list of 50 and that’s good.
sounds good lynne…i will put you in touch with anyone that might be interested.
It’s on the Christmas list Steve.
Hey Lynne and Steve,
I am willing to write a review of the Classic Descents book.
BTW – Steve, great stoke from your New Zealand trip. Looks incredible. The skiing is starting to shape up in the Cascades.
thanks kevin! i sent lynne and email about the review.
Sounds like Steve will send you my contact info. Are you in the Greater Teton area?