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.
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.
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.
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.