What you don’t know can kill you
Snowstruck, the story…
Avalanches are probably one of the most underrated natural disasters. Often deadly, often destructive and only slightly predictable, Jill Fredston , author of Snowstruck, writes with the voice of experience. She both predicts avalanche conditions and has served on many rescue and recovery missions.
I read this at the height of summer, when heat and humidity ruled the east coast days and nights. Now, as I write this, winter cold is moving in. Fortunately, avalanches are rare here in Central PA, the mountain slopes are not steep, and are covered with trees and brush. Plus, with global warming in play, we’ve have fewer and fewer snow storms.
Jill writes what she knows and the weight of recovering bodies is one that she doesn’t hide from the reader. If anything, the takeaway is not only that you shouldn’t venture in the the winter backcountry in avalanche prone areas without avalanche training, but that cities, counties and states need to take the threat of avalanches seriously. Her point is driven home by the stories that she relates about people who lived, people who died, and the few who were changed forever by an avalanche.
JILL FREDSTON is the author of Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic’s Edge, which won a 2002 National Outdoor Book Award. She and her husband, Doug Fesler, are co directors of the Alaska Mountain Safety Center. They live in the mountains above Anchorage.
Who is Snowstruck for?
Snowstruck is for the person who thinks they know it all about playing in the backcountry. It’s for the person who wants to learn what they don’t know, or wants to play more in the backcountry. Written as a series of vignettes, Snowstruck will give you a much greater respect for playing in the mountains in the winter and inspire you to take a avalanche class or two.
Borrow or Buy?
I would say that this is a borrow, definitely worth reading once, but I’m not sure that I’ve found much that I’ll want to go back and reference again. The story is most certainly worth reading. I did not realize how intricate and dangerous snow could be before reading this book.
Snowstruck, Jill Fredston, HarcourtBooks, Orlando FL, 2005, 342 pages, ISBN 978-0-15–603254-4
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Check out the other books that I’m reading, or the reviews that I’ve written on my bookshelf.