Thanks to Cripple Creek Backcountry for sponsoring this post, our local outfit offering knowledge and gear to keep you safe in the backcountry.
A Q&A with Andy Sovick, Beacon Guidebook’s accidental publisher
Andy Sovick didn’t set out to be a book publisher. He really just wanted to compile photographs of favorite and potential ski touring routes in and around his home zone of Crested Butte. He was pretty content swinging a hammer and going skiing. But his ideas had ambitions of their own.
“I started dreaming of making a proper atlas for just my area for myself and my friends. Then it occurred to me that it would make more sense to make 1000 instead of just 10 because of cost. Then that expanded into making a proper ski atlas for Crested Butte.” He drew inspiration from Brady Johnston in Driggs who had created something similar in the Tetons. After the first book, he thought, well that was fun, and put it aside. A year later he got the itch again. With the help of Silverton guide and local Josh Kling, they made another book for Silverton and Durango.
“Then I got a call from a mountain guide in Seattle name Matt Schonwald. He said ‘I want to make an atlas just like yours. Would you be my publisher?” And I said, ‘I’m not a publisher, I’m a carpenter.’ He said, ‘no no, you’re a publisher, do you want to do it or not?’
Seven years later, it’s a proper publishing company named Beacon Guidebooks. What started as a shoebox of photos in Andy’s closet has evolved into eight Off-Piste Ski Atlas guides for areas in Colorado and Washington including Loveland Pass, Mount Baker, Snoqualmie Pass, Lou’s Uphill and Light Ski Tours of Colorado and more. The company is also about roll out a series of topographic maps for specific zones that mirror information included in the atlases.
I called up Andy to chat about the guidebook creation process, what he hopes users will get from the books, and the age old question…but what about the locals’ secret stashes?