Much of my reading has, for years, included a generous sampling of the realm of climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing. I’m certain this is unlikely to change. But for different view, I decided to read a book that melds the gripping history of the march toward the end of WWII with the fledgling ski industry — the ski boom that really began at the hands of many men who made the 10th Mountain Division an elite fighting force.
There are so many fantastic personalities that come alive in this book that I’m sure author Charles J. Sanders struggled over who to highlight. He chose, in the end, to tell the stories of three young men who lived with the intensity and fire that ultimately foretold the genesis of the ski industry as we know it, and ushered in the freedom necessary to enjoy such a pastime.
So much was won when WWII was finished in Europe. Subsequent generations can scarcely fathom how life in America has been shaped by our decisive victory over the encroaching Nazis.
I’m one of those who has a very limited perspective. I’ve wanted that to change. Ignorance of history can’t continue to rule, at least not for me. The Boys of Winter: Life and Death in the U.S. Ski Troops During the Second World War has helped open my eyes. Sacrifice, love of country, and even love of skiing can coexist in ways that are profound and lasting. Examples of such are the fabric of The Boys of Winter. If you love to ski and love freedom, highly recommended.