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Book Review — “Backcountry Skiing”

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Earlier this month ski guide Martin Volken—a Swiss expat now living in the Seattle area—lead the way with two Norwegian guides on a ski-touring trip I jumped in on in the Romsdal Alps. (See my trip report here.) Volken, owner of Pro Guiding Service in North Bend, Wash., gave me pointers on how to most efficiently skin uphill, kick turn, and cut a path up steep faces on mountains with names like Kirketaket and Smorbottentin.

But it was only later that I learned Volken is the man of the moment in backcountry ski and ski-touring information.

Indeed, earlier this month Mountaineers Books published “Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering.” Volken is co-author, along with Scott Schell and Margaret Wheeler.

The 344-page textbook to all things backcountry and skiing covers topics from avalanche safety and navigation to gear, fitness information and nutrition for the high peaks. There’s a tutorial on how to employ advanced ski mountaineering techniques as well as the basics for beginners just getting the guts to head out of bounds.

But don’t just take my word. Here’s what backcountry ski guru Lou Dawson has to say:

”[This book] is indeed a magnum opus. Not only is this one of the most current backcountry skiing how-tos I’ve ever seen, but it covers an amazing gamut of information, including Chapter 2, “Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain,”; and Chapter 4, “Uphill Movement,” which gets incredibly detailed. If you’re new to the game, I’d say this chapter alone makes the book worth the price. Highly recommended.”

See the details on “Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering” here: www.mountaineersbooks.org

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