Neal Beidleman Aspen Guidebook Is Printed

Post by blogger | November 21, 2006      

Most North American ski towns and resorts were not built by corporations. They were (and still are) built by the people who make their homes there, love there, raise families there, and yes, are buried there. For example, consider Aspen Mountain in Colorado.

“Ajax,” as the mountain has been called since 1800’s mining days, began as a town ski area with locals cobbling ski lifts that ranged from funky rope tows to a contraption called the “boat tow,” a sled filled with merry skiers pulled up the mountain by a glorified mining winch. People sacrificed for what we have.

Aspen native Neal Beidleman is no stranger to this. Check out page 29 of his new guidebook to Aspen ski areas, where you’ll find run #6, Keith Glen: “Formerly Back of Bell 3, this run was dedicated to Keith Glen Beidleman, who was killed in a freak accident while clearing trails for the gondola…” This is Neal’s brother, and the book is dedicated to him.

Yes, you can have great terrain like Aspen, but in so many ways it is people who make a ski resort. Neal’s book acknowledges this by not only giving us copious local history in his chapter intros and run descriptions, but sprinkled through the book are cameos of individuals who make the Aspen area what it is. You read those and you know the type of skiers the ski runs in this town have to satisfy, and you know why a guidebook such as this should have probably happened years ago.

The meat of “Aspen Ski and Snowboard Guide” is the trail descriptions. If you are new to the area, this book will keep you out of the “sheep syndrome” when you slide off a lift and end up blindly following everyone else because you have not a clue how to enjoy the mountain. That said, this book is NOT a fluffy tourist guide. It’s pithy, complete, and even details more than 150 runs that are not on the trail maps. In other words, if you’re local you will still find this to be a valuable resource. Example: I’d like to know Snowmass better, and find places to practice steep skiing so my worn legs can function for spring backcountry ski alpinism. Looks like a few things on the Hanging Valley Wall might fit the bill — and thanks to the book, I’ll not make the mistake of starting down the line with 50 feet of mandatory air. Thanks to Neal!

Former teaser blog for this book, with more information.


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6 Responses to “Neal Beidleman Aspen Guidebook Is Printed”

  1. Clyde November 21st, 2006 8:18 am

    Please ask Neal when and where he’s going to do a book signing. Will he be at OR? If not, is he willing to send out signed copies?

  2. Lou November 21st, 2006 9:07 am

    Hi Clyde, usually the books that Vintage sells are signed if possible. I’d call them and ask. Their number is on their website. Perhaps Neal or his publicist will chime in here and let us know where the book signings are.

  3. NealB November 21st, 2006 11:02 am

    With just a day to spare, the books are back from the printer and we are getting them out into the shops just in time for T-day…

    Clyde, I am not currently planning on being at OR or doing a book signing, although several people have suggested I do some such thing (I’m thinking a better idea is a get-together with more beer and less signing).

    This project has been a pretty small operation and we are not well-versed in the proper protocols of mainstream book releases and such. The entire “staff” working on this project has been the publisher, Dave Pegg from his two person mega-conglomerate biz, Wolverine Publishing based in Silt CO; Tim Mutrie, a freelance journalist/ski patroller who is doing sales (currently on his bike delivering books) and me. I’d be happy to sign a book, but first I’ll have to figure out just how to do that and get it to you — I’ll talk to the “staff” as see what the brain trust comes up with!

    Hope everyone enjoys the book. It was way more work then I ever imagined, but very fun and rewarding exploring the terrain and the history of our wonderful backyard. Neal

  4. Lou November 21st, 2006 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the info Neal! If you sign the books that go to Vintage Ski World that would be good, as that’s what Vint’s owner specializes in selling.

  5. scott November 21st, 2006 6:50 pm

    Thanks for the heads up on Neal’s book. Probably a must have for the home library.

    It’s great you have a chance to mention these local guys. Always good stuff. btw I see Chris Davenport is working on his 14’ers blog again. Great read and photos. Hope he can work out his film in the wilderness issue beacuse I’ve really have been looking forward to the movie.

  6. Ed Butch November 21st, 2006 8:37 pm

    I hope this book has the real locals only info on how to duck ropes to all the closed areas at snowmass. The patrollers there are something else. I would pick a king kong sized avalanche over dealing with their king kong sized egos any day.Any beta on scamming up the hill without paying for a lift ticket would also be great.
    Thanks Lou and Neel

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