A winter reading list.
The Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook, by Tim MacWelch
As computers and smartphones integrate ever further into our lives, it becomes increasingly easy to justify informational outsourcing—why waste time committing things to memory when one can just look them up? Deep down, though, we all know that knowledge, like virtue, is its own reward. And that’s where The Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook ($18, WeldonOwen) comes in. With 157 tips and tricks for winter safety, survival, and overall cold-weather savviness, this book will help you become smarter, stronger, and more self-sufficient, whether your iPhone’s got battery life and a WiFi signal or not. This backpack-worthy book has it all, from handy home-safety hacks and emergency medical procedures, to important wilderness-survival skills like building a “quinzee” shelter, executing proper rescue signals, and constructing makeshift snowshoes. Though aimed at beginners (and designed with children and the ADD-afflicted in mind, given its large print and abundant photos), even capable outdoor folk can find a few nuggets of solid outdoor advice within its pages. At the very least, it’s worth a spot on the coffee table, for flipping through in front of the fire on those cold winter nights. —Mike England
The God of Skiing, by Peter Kray
The God of Skiing ($14, Shred, White, and Blue Media) isn’t a book about skiing. It’s a book about skiers, as a tribe. It’s part biography, part memoir, part love letter to a way of life that may or may not exist—and that’s the point. Author Peter Kray weaves a complex, sometimes beautifully convoluted tapestry of mountain soul into a personal story as captivating as it is readable. “In order to tell what’s true, I made up a couple of things,” he writes in the book’s introduction. “But only to balance out what I’m still afraid of telling.” It’s lyrical without being overwritten; ethereal without being totally ungrounded; reverent but not cliché. The characters are flawed and wonderful, and Kray has the good sense to get out of their way and let the story flow. In the end, as Kray put it, “You can call it a novel if that makes it easier to understand. Or a documentary. Or skiing’s double album.” Call it what you want, just read it. —Drew Pogge
Cold Smoke, Edna Berg and Annie Cicale
It’s easy to take Bridger Bowl for granted, and many of us do. But nothing happens by accident, especially not a world-class community ski hill like Bridger. Dozens of ski pioneers have come before us, paving the way for the place so many of us now know and love. In Cold Smoke: Skiers Remember Montana’s Bear Canyon and Bridger Bowl, Edna Berg and Annie Cicale compile the stories of these ski pioneers, including memories of Bear Canyon’s ski area, creating a historical volume that is invaluable to any Montana skier. The personal anecdotes paint pictures of struggle, growth, adventure, and change. Change has once again come to our valley, as it has to many locations across the country. If we hope to maintain the community spirit that Bridger has fostered for over 65 years, taking a look at what the mountain has meant to so many folks is a good place to start. —David Tucker