Book Review: Exploring the Coast Mountains on Skis

Exploring the Coast Mountains On Skis:  A Guide to Ski Mountaineering, 3rd Ed.
by John Baldwin | www.johnbaldwin.ca

That's it.  I'm moving to Canada.

I'm surprised more of us snow-loving yankees aren't migrating north already.  We're faced with a winter that may - if we're really lucky - last 4 months.  And Vancouver, for starters, has the most ethnically diverse restaurant scene north of L.A., provincial health care, and a bus line from the city core to the "local" ski hill.  Then this book just puts another nail into the coffin of my days as an American resident.

As John points out in his introduction, the first eddition was 144 pages.  25 years later it weighs in at 447 pages, putting it up there with one of Beckey's tomes.

Covering the coastal ranges from Mt. Baker to Skagway, the length of the BC coast, is trully phenomenal.  Its been sitting on my coffee table, allowing me to check out another chapter of tours and descents, grouped by geography, as I taste my first cup of the day's java.  At first, I checked out all the "local" chapters, the areas that are easily accessible from Vancouver.  Then I really became intrigued by the huts that dot that landscape and get special mention, in appropriate moments, throughout the book.  Then I examined the huge icefields, most of which I had no idea existed.  This morning I started to look around the remote and cool sounding towns tucked into the Coast Range.

With an easy to understand rating system, it makes it simple to flip this book open to any page read the narrative, and get a good grasp of the difficuly and time involved for each adventure.  It doesn't give out the most challenging, no-falls-allowed terrain, but it does give the reader a resource to look for that!

And adventure is key in this book.  John doesn't give out a play-by-play description of how to get to where-ever you want to go.  It gives just enough to get the reader looking in the right direction and asking the right questions.  When I head up to Pemberton in March, you can count on this book coming with me!