Backcountry Skiing Book List

This backcountry skiing, snowboard, telemark booklist is taken from the bibliography compiled by Louis Dawson for his Wild Snow history project. This is the most complete backcountry skiing booklist available on the web. Updated frequently, with an effort to keep it focused. If you’re gift shopping for a backcountry skier, telemarker, or backcountry snowboarder, stop here first! Click the linked titles for an Amazon shopping option.

Atwater, Monty. The Avalanche Hunters. Macrae Smith Co, 1968.
(Terrific account of pioneering the avalanche safety game. Recommended by WildSnow.com)

Baldwin, John. Exploring the Coast Mountains on Skis, Third Edition: A Guidebook to Mountain Ski Touring in Southwestern British Columbia. Author published, 2009.
(Here be adventure. Backcountry skiing at its best!)
[Read review]

Beck, David. Ski Touring In California. Pika Press, 1980.
(Another classic that belongs in every backcountry skier’s collection.)

Beckey, Fred. Cascade Alpine Guide. Volumes 1 and 2. Mountaineers Books, 1987.

Beckey, Fred. Challenge of the North Cascades. Mountaineers Books, 1969.

Beidleman, Neal. Aspen Ski and Snowboard Guide. Wolverine, 2006.
(Inbounds guidebook for all of Aspen, Colorado’s ski areas. These resorts include a huge amount of natural snow terrain that could be called backcountry skiing, hence inclusion of this book here.)

Bradley, Tyson. Backcountry Skiing Utah. Falcon, 2002.
(Truly an excellent book if you want to get the most out of Utah, or just dream about the powder capitol of the world. Nice gift for any skier with an adventurous heart.)

Bergdorfer, Rainer. 100 Classic Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Routes in Washington. Mountaineers Books; 2nd edition, 1999.
(Rainer worked hard on this book for years, and it shows in this quality offering. Collectors, note that Reiner’s first book is the out-of-print “Backcountry Sking in Washington’s Cascades.”)

Bernbaum, Edwin. Sacred Mountains of the World. Sierra Club Books, 1990.
(Interesting take for mountain lovers of all stripes. Large format book with beautiful photographs.)

Bronski, Peter. Powder Ghost Towns. Wilderness Press, 2008.
(Guidebook for Colorado’s former and now closed ski resorts, includes excellent historical information.)

Brower, David. Manual of Ski Mountaineering. Sierra Club Books, 1962.
(The famed conservationist came from backcountry skiing roots, and wrote the first North American version of a backcountry skiing how-to. Terrific gift.)

Bowers, Vivien. In the Path of an Avalanche. Greystone Books, 2003.

Bueler, William. Roof of the Rockies. Pruett Publishing, 1974.
(Classic overview of early Colorado alpine climbing.)

Burhenne, H.J. Sierra Spring Ski Touring. Mountain Press, 1971.
(The original guidebook for mountain backcountry skiing descents in the California Sierra, hard to find, collectible.)

Burton, Hal. The Ski Troops. Simon and Shuster, 1971.
(This early book about the 10th Mountain Division is still worthy.)

Campbell, Tavis & Cox, Sam. Stepping Up. . Author published, 2nd edition, 2009.
(Guidebook for The Ridge at Bridger Bowl ski area in Montana.)
[read review]

Clellan & O’Bannon. Allen and Mike’s Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book. Falcon, 1996
(The best bathroom reading ever sold — if you’re near a bathroom. Highly recommended.)

[shop for this book]

Cliff, Peter. Ski Mountaineering. Pacific Search Press, 1987.
(First book to cover the sport in a modern sense — now a classic.)

Corcoran, Thom. Mount St. Helens. KC Publications, 1985.
(This large format staple-bound book has the photos. Includes the shots of the guys on a neighboring peak watching the eruption and falling to the ground in amazement. Classic.)

Cowman, Charles E. Mountain Trailways For Youth, Devotions for Young People.
Zondervan, 1978.
(Christian devotional for young people, with emphasis on mountains and natural world, nice gift.)

[shop
for this book]

Daugherty, Sean. Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies.
Rocky Mountain Books.
(Includes a number of ski routes, and describes access to many backcountry ski areas and peaks.)

Dawson, Louis. Colorado 10th Mountain Trails WHO Press, 1991.
(Out of print but still available on used market. Somewhat dated but includes alternate routes. Good collector’s item. Information within this book has been updated and ported to the web, see hutski.com)

Dawson, Louis. Colorado High Routes. Mountaineers Books, 1987.
(The first Colorado guidebook to cover ski mountaineering and the 10th Mountain Huts. Out of print, available on collector market.)

Dawson, Louis. Dawson’s Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners: Volume 1, The Northern
Peaks
. Blue Clover Press, 1995.

Dawson, Louis. Dawson’s Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners: Volume 2, The Southern
Peaks.
Blue Clover Press, 1996.

Dawson, Louis. Dawson’s Guide to Colorado Backcountry Skiing, Roaring Fork Area
Blue Clover Press, 2000.

Dawson, Louis. Wild Snow, 54 Classic Ski and Snowboard Descents of North America.
AAC Press, 1998.

Day, Richard. Mad Dog Mountain. Sutton Publishing
(Amazing work of mountain mystic fiction that yes, includes backcountry skiing that we approve of here at WildSnow.com.)
[Read review]

Dafoe, Eric & Kelly, John. Ski Touring in Rogers Pass Friends of Mount Revelstoke & Glacier, 2010.
[Read review]

Dyer, John Lewis. The Snow-Shoe Itinerant. Cranston and Stowe, 1891.
(The original is an out-of-print collector’s book, but the text was re-editioned with photos in a modern book, available via title link above. Terrific way to gain a sense of Colorado’s ski history.)

Farquhar, Francis. History of the Sierra Nevada. University
of California Press, 1966.
[shop for this book]

Fay, Abbott. Ski Tracks in the Rockies. Cordillera Press, 1984.
(Brief yet excellent overview of Colorado ski history.)
[shop for this book]

Fredston, Jill. Snowstruck: In the Grip of Avlanches. Harcourt, 2005.
(Gripping account of avalanche accidents and her life as an avalanche expert.)
[shop for this book]

Geiger, John. The Third Man Factor. Weinstein, 2009.
[Read Review]

Goodman, David.Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast: 50 Classic Ski Tours in New England and New York.
(The source for classic adventure skiing in the Northeastern United States.)
[shop for this book]

Goodman, David.Classic Backcountry Skiing Adventures – second edition, 2000.
(OUT OF DATE and OUT OF PRINT EDITION, THIS INFORMATION PROVIDED FOR COLLECTORS)
[shop for this book]

Goodwin, Tony. Classic Adirondack Ski Tours. Adirondack Mountain Club, 1994.
(Early effort at detailing this incredible area, must-have for any collection.)
[shop for this book]

Grauer, Jack. Mount Hood a Complete History. Author published, 1975.
(Interesting history with plentiful illustrations, tons of ski info, but poorly organized with no index.)
[shop for this book]

Greenberg, Nate & Mingori, Dan. Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra. Woverine Publishing, 2008.
(Solid details for many routes, no cultural or historical info.)
[shop for this book]

Haddad, Ron & Faughey, Eileen. Front Range Descents. Sigma, 2003.
(Excellent Colorado backcountry skiing guidebook. Will grow your skier’s life-list by a quantum leap. Haddad formerly published Indian Peaks Descents. This new book includes all information in the former guidebook.)

House, Steve. Beyond the Mountain Patagonia Inc., 2010.
(A classic of extreme alpinism. Not really a skiing book, but mentions skiing, and general them of skilled alpinism applies.)
[Read review of this book].

Hart, John L. Jerome. Fourteen Thousand Feet. Colorado Mountain Club, 1971.
(The original guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners, hard to find staple bound collector’s book.)

Jay, John. Ski Down the Years. Award House, 1966.
(Incredible classic, out of print but available on used market. A must-have for any skier who enjoys the roots of the sport.)

Jenkins, McKay. The White Death.Random House, 2000.
(Covers the tragic and well known death of three young men in a 1969 avalanche in Glacier National Park. Mixes vivid description of the tragedy with a primer on snow and avalanches, opinion about risk, and philosophical musings about mountain recreation. Worthwhile read.)

Jenkins, McKay. The Last RidgeRandom House, 2003.
(Good detailed history of 10th Mountain Division that includes overview, chronological history and first person accounts. Recommended.)
[Read review of The Last Ridge]

Johannsen, Alice E. The Legendary Jackrabbit Johannsen.
McGill-Queens University Press, 1993.

Kelner, Alexis. Skiing in Utah: A History. Author published, 1980.
(Excellent history with a backcountry slant.)

Kelner, Alexis. Wasatch Tours. Wasatch Books, 1976, Early edition.
(First guidebook in the United States to cover steeper modern backcountry skiing, this edition is out of print and available as a collector’s book, new edition is sold in two volumes, see below.)

Kelner, Alexis. Wasatch Tours, Volume 1. Wasatch Tours, 1995.
(New edition of original classic, hard to find for some reason.)

Kelner, Alexis. Wasatch Tours, Volume 2 – Northern Wasatch. Wasatch Tours, 1995.
(New edition of original classic, hard to find for some reason.)

Kelsey, Michael. Climbing and Exploring Utah’s Mount Timpanogos. Kelsey Publishing, 1989.
[shop for this book]

Kerig, Bill. The Edge of Never . 1st edition, Stone Creek Publishing, 2008.
(Story of Trevor Peterson, movie “Steep,” Trevor’s son Kye.)
[read review of this book]
[shop for this book]

Kinney, Matt. Alaska Backcountry Skiing – Valdez & Thompson Pass . 1st edition, Prince William Sound Books, 2008.
(Where the goods are good and the odds can be good too! Highly recommended.)
[read review of this book]
[shop for this book]

LaChapelle, Dolores. Deep Powder Snow. Kivaki Press, 1993.
[read review of this book]

LaChapelle, Edward R. The ABC’s of Avalanche Safety. Second Edition. Mountaineers Books, 1985.
(This second edition provides current basics in avoiding snow avalanche danger. Highly recommended.)
[shop for this book]

LaChapelle, Edward R. The ABC’s of Avalanche Safety. Mountaineer’s Books “First Edition.” Mountaineers Books, 1978.
(Early editions of this small concise book were a seminal publication in avalanche safety. Most of the info in the early editions is still accurate, but they’re more of a collector book than anything else. Note that the true first edition of this book was published in Colorado before 1970, and was not published by Mountaineer’s books. The true first edition is tough to find.)
[shop for 1978 edition of this book]

Lavender, David Sievert. One Man’s West. Doubleday, 1956.
(Compelling memoir of life in the early west during the “quiet years,” but with more info about mountain town life than most other histories. Available in several editions.)
[shop for this book]

Leigh N. Ortenburger and Reynold G. Jackson. A Climber’s Guide To The Teton Range. Third Edition. Mountaineers Books, 1996.
[shop for this book]

Lev, Peter (with Ed LaChapelle and Liam Fitzgerald). Snow
Avalanche Atlas, Little Cottonwood Canyon U-210
. Utah Department
of Transportation, 1987.
(This little publication changed everything when extreme skier Andrew McLean got his hands on it, hard to find.)

Litz, Brian and Kurt Lankford. Skiing Colorado’s Backcountry. Fulcrum Press, 1989.
(Brian’s first book and still a classic. Lankford died of a heart attack some years ago, and book went out of print, but it’s still available on used market. Brian went on to write Colorado Hut to Hut, and has now started his own publishing company.)
[shop for this book]

Litz, Brian. Colorado Hut to Hut – Vol 1. Westcliffe Publishers, 2000.
(Brian attemps to cover all of Colorado’s huts in this series, and pretty much pulls it off. Volume 1 covers the northern huts, including 10th Mountain and Braun, while Volume 2 covers southern Colorado.)
[shop for this book]

Logan, Nick & Atkins, Dale. The Snowy Torrents, Avalanche Accidents in U.S., 1980-86. Colorado Geological Survey, 1996.
(A repeat of the original classic, see bottom of this list.)
[shop for this book]

Lund, Morten, ed. The Ski Book. Arbor House, 1982.
(Excellent book, written by super historian Lund, has tons of accurate history and interesting stories.)

Lund, Morten and Bob Laurie. Skier’s Paradise. G.P. Putnam’s, 1967.
(This hard to find collector’s book is worthy.)

Lund, Morten. The Skier’s World. Random House, 1973.
(Large format collector’s book gives an interesting view of worldwide skiing, numerous excellent photos, lots of history — excellent gift for lovers of skiing!)

Lunn, Arnold. The Mountains of Youth. Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1925.
(This collector’s book is a must-read for anyone who’s life is that of the alpinist.)

McLean, Andrew. The Chuting Gallery. Paw Prince Press, 1998.

Miura, Yuichiro and Perlman, Eric. The Man Who Skied Down Everest. Harper and Row, 1978.
(This adventure classic is sometimes a bit exaggerated, but an essential part of extreme skiing history. Fun gift.)

Molenaar, Dee. The Challenge of Rainier. Mountaineers Books, 1979.

Morris, Halsted. Backcountry Skier’s Field Book. Hacksaw Publishing, 1997.
(While mostly a journal for snow observations, includes rescue flow chart, slope angle meter, and other useful content.)

Moynier, John. Backcountry Skiing California’s High Sierra. Falcon
Press, 1999.

Moynier, John, Avalanche Aware. Falcon Press, 1998.
read review

Munday, Don. The Unknown Mountain. Coyote Books, 1993.
(This classic describes the adventures of THE pioneers of Canadian ski alpinism — a husband-wife team. Excellent.)

Nansen, Fridtjof. Farthest North. Volumes 1 & 2. Harper, 1897.
(Out of print, this edition is recommended for research as it has much more text than abridged edition noted below, and includes all images. Available from used book sellers.)

Nansen, Fridtjof. Farthest North
Abridged, Modern Library, 2000.
(Though abridged, still highly recommended. Terrific gift.)

Nelson and Potterfield. Selected Climbs in the Cascades.
Mountaineers Books, 2003.
(Excellent overview that’s useful for ski mountaineering.)

Ohlrich, Warren. The 10th Mountain Hut Book .
WHO Press, 2006.
(Amazingly detailed guide for the famous huts of Colorado. Highly recommended. Good gift for a dreamer, and good tool for the skier who’s already planning a trip.)

Pennington, Janice. Husband, Lover, Spy.
St. Martin’s Press, 1994.
(Incredible story, if a bit far fetched, about extreme skier Fritz Stammberger — unique gift.)

Parker, Paul. Free Heel Skiing
The Mountaineers, 1998. (second edition)
read review

Perla, Ronald and M. Martinelli. Avalanche Handbook. U.S.
Department of Agriculture #489, 1976.

(Another early book that started the revolution in avalanche
safety technique and equipment. Older versions are good collector’s
items, were used as textbook for the early avalanche safety courses.)

[shop
for this book]

Peters, Ed, ed. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills.
Mountaineers Books, 1991

[shop
for this book]

Pote, Winston. Mount Washington in Winter. Down
East Books, 1985.

(If you love Mount Washington backcountry skiing,
you must have this classic book. Tons of skiing.)

[shop
for this book]

Putnam, William Lowell. Joe Dodge. Phoenix Publishing, 1986.
[read review of this book]

Richards, Rick. Ski Pioneers: The Making of Taos Ski Valley. Dry Gulch Publishing, 1992.

[shop
for this book]

Richins, Paul Jr. 50
Classic Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Summits in California
. Mountaineers Books, 1999.

Rebuffat, Gaston. Starlight
and Storm.
Modern Library Exploration Series, 1999.

(Reprint of a mountaineering classic. First published
in 1954, this sublime book changed mountain writing from a me
versus them
genre to one of communion and spirituality. Sometimes a bit over
the top, but the alternative is worse. Makes a great gift, should
be in every alpinist’s collection.)

[shop
for this book]

Rebuffat, Gaston. Between Heaven and Earth. Kaye & Ward, 1969.
(Simply a beautiful, inspiring book about mountaineering in the Alps. Hard to find collector’s book, following link may not work for direct buy. ISBN 0718205138.)
[shop for this book]

Ringholz, Raye C. On Belay, the Life and Times of Legendary
Mountaineer Paul Petzoldt
. Mountaineers, 2000.

[shop
for this book]

Roper, Steve & Steck, Allen. Fifty Classic Climbs. Sierra Club Books, 1996.
(This concept of book served as the model for many published after. Some of the climbs are mountaineering and can be ski alpinism related.)
[shop for this book]

Rose, Gene. Magic Yosemite Winters: A Century of Winter Sports. Coldstream Press, 1998.
(Good information about how skiers in the Yosemite made backcountry ski history.)

Schniebs, Otto Eugen. American Skiing. E. P. Dutton, 1939.
(Hard to find collector’s book, includes an incredible chapter about backcountry ski mountaineering in Colorado in the 1930s.)

Scofield, Bruce. High Peaks of the Northeast. New England Cartographics, 1993.
(Useful overview of the Northeast alpine, round out your library.)
[shop for this book]

Secor, R.J.. The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes and Trails. Mountaineers Books, 1992.
[shop for this book]

Secor, R.J.. Mexico’s Volcanos: A Climbing Guide. Mountaineers Books, 2001.
(Use this book for skiing adventures down south.)
[shopfor this book]

Scott, Chic. Summits & Icefields. 1st edition, Rocky Mountain Books, 1996.
(First edition is now a collector book, see below for new edition that’s been split into two volumes.)
[read review of this book]
[shop for this book]

Scott, Chic. Summits & Icefields: Columbia Mountains. 1st edition Rocky Mountain Books, 2003.
(Companion volume to Summits and Icefields: Canadian Rockies, this guide to alpine ski touring in the Columbia Mountains of Western Canada, the Purcells and Selkirks ranges.)
[read review of this book]
[shop for this book]

Scott, Chic. Summits & Icefields: Canadian Rockies. 1st edition Rocky Mountain Books, 2003.
(Companion volume to Summits and Icefields: Columbia Mountains. A must-have for any library of wild snow backcountry skiing.)
[read review of this book]
[shop for this book]

Scott, Chic. Summits & Icefields: Canadian Rockies. 3rd edition Rocky Mountain Books, 2011.
(Companion volume to Summits and Icefields: Clolumbia Mountains.)
[read review of this book]
[shop for this book]

Selters, Andy and Michael Zanger. The Mount Shasta Book. Wilderness Press, 1995.
[shop for this book]

Sheldrake, Wayne. Instant Karma: The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum . Ghostroad Press, 2007.
[shop for this book]

Shelton, Peter. Climb to Conquer: 10th Mountain Division Ski Troops. Scribner, 2003.

Sinclair, Pete. We Aspired: The Last Innocent Americans. Utah State University Press, 1993.
(Valuable account of Wyoming Teton climbing culture in the 1960s.)

Tejada-Flores, Lito. Backcountry Skiing. Sierra Club Books, 1981.
(The first North American modern how-to book for backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. A terrific collector’s item, still contains lots of useful information.)
[shop for this book]

Tilburg,Christopher Van. Backcountry Ski Oregon:Classic Descents for
Skiers & Snowboarders.
Sasquatch Books, 2001.

Tilton, Buck. Wilderness First Responder. Falcon Books, 2004.
[shop for this book]

Tremper, Bruce. Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain. Mountaineer’s Books, 2001.
(Here at WildSnow.com we think this avalanche safety how-to is perhaps the best available for backcountry skiers and snowboarders. It looks at the issue from a practical view, assuming you WILL go out in avalanche terrain and ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, etc.)
[shop for this book]

Turiano, Thomas. Teton Skiing: A History and Guide. Homestead Publishing, 1995.
[read review of this book]

Tweed, William. Shorty Lovelace, Kings Canyon Fur Trapper. Sequoia Natural History Association, 1980.
(Interesting info about one of the first Sierra skiers. Out of print, hard to find.)

Vielbig, Klindt. Cross-Country Ski Routes of Oregon’s Cascades. Mountaineers Books, 1985.
[shop for this book]

Vives, Jean. Backcountry Skier.
(A super useful compendium of mountain sense for backcountry winter folk — especially those just starting their careers as backcountry skiers.)

Vives, Jean. Ski Randonnee .
(A bit more advanced than Vives’ other book listed above, with equipment chapter focused on randonnee AT gear not telemark.)
[read review of this book]
[shop for this book]

Volken, Martin. Backcountry Skiing. Mountaineers Books 2007.
(The how-to book of the millennium — highly recommended.)
[read review of this book]

Volken, Martin. Backcountry Skiing Snoqualmie Pass. Falcon, 2001.
(The key to incredible backcountry skiing just an hour east of Seattle, Washington. Volken is incredibly experienced.)

Waag, David L. Oregon Descents: Backcountry Skiing Southern Cascades. Author published.

Waterman, Guy and Laura. Forest and Crag. Appalachian Mountain Club, 1989.
(Aside from the disturbing fact that co-author Guy Waterman committed suicide by wandering out on a mountainside and freezing himself to death, this book is an incredible compendium of Northeastern backcountry history, with tons of ski info. A must-have.)

Waterman, Jonathan. High Alaska: A Historical Guide to Denali, Foraker and Hunter. American Alpine Club Press, 1996.
(Excellent.)

Waterman, Jonathan. In the Shadow of Denali.. Doubleday, 1993.
[Read a review of this book]

Waterman, Jonathan. Surviving Denali: A Study of Accidents on Mount McKinley 1903-1990.
American Alpine Club Press, 1996.

Watters, Ron. Ski Camping.
Solstice Press/Chronicle Books, 1979.

Watters, Ron. Winter Tales and Trails..
Great Rift Press, 1998.

Weamer, Howard. The Perfect Art: The Ostrander Hut & Ski Touring in Yosemite. Author published, 1995.
(A classic of backcountry spirit.)

Witherell, Warren; Evrard, David. The Athletic Skier. Johnson Books; 1993.
(A bit dated, but tons of useful information about boot fitting and alignment, etc.)

Williams, Knox and Betsy Armstrong. The Avalanche Book. Fulcrum Press, 1986.
(Excellent overview, should be in every backcountry skier’s collection.)

Williams, Knox and Armstrong, Betsy. The Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents , United States, 1972-1979. Teton Bookshop Publishing, 1984.
(This classic of accident reporting changed the way we look at avalanches, includes many of the famous early accidents that changed the way we view avalanche danger.)

Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

All material on this website online magazine is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked.. Permission required for reproduction, electronic or otherwise. This includes publication and display on other websites by whatever means. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

Switch To Mobile Version