Book Review: Free Skiing: How To Adapt To The Mountain By Jimmy Oden
Free Skiing: How To Adapt To The Mountain by Jimmy Oden is essentially a skier’s version of the ultra classic, Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. I think that Jimmy Oden’s opening sums up the book best…
“I still remember all the questions I used to ask myself when I first started skiing full-time. Knowing what I know today, this is the book I wish I’d had but never found back then.” – Jimmy Oden
Isn’t that what we’ve all been looking for?
Jimmy Oden is a UIAGM mountain guide who is based in Verbier, Switzerland. His book Free Skiing: How To Adapt To The Mountain is a collection of tips, techniques, principles, and knowledge that any skier who is looking to venture into the world of big mountains needs to know. Route finding, snow science, companion rescue, avalanche, knots, rope systems, steep skiing, crevasse rescue, overnight ski touring, first aid, navigation, and so much more.
Oden explores the world of big mountain skiing through 366 pages, 12 chapters, 441 illustrations, and 104 photos. The pictures are inspiring, the illustrations are understandable, and the text offers invaluable knowledge.
His goal is to provide a reference book, not an instruction manual, to skiers who want to ski the best snow, in the coolest terrain, in the safest way possible. I believe that he has succeeded. Obviously, nothing replaces real experience and training.
I find that Free Skiing: How To Adapt To The Mountain is one of the best ski focused reference books that I own. I have read it cover to cover multiple times. I am constantly drawn back to it learn more. I would say that the book could be a bit overwhelming for a backcountry newbie, but we all have to start somewhere and this is an excellent starting point.
Free Skiing Chapters
- Mountain Sense
- Mountain Weather
- Snow & Avalanche Knowledge
- Avalanche Hazard Evaluation
- Companion Avalanche Rescue
- First Aid and Rescue
- Ski Relate Mountaineering Skills
- Glacier Skiing
- Steep Skiing
- Ski Touring
Free Skiing: How To Adapt To The Mountain was originally published in November 2007. It won the Design S Award for outstanding design and function.
My only complaints about Free Skiing: How To Adapt To The Mountain is that the font (Courier?) can be a bit challenging to read. There is also not a Kindle edition available, so this text always stays at home when I’m on the road.
Free Skiing: How To Adapt To The Mountain by Jimmy Oden deserves a spot on every skier’s bookshelf or coffee table. It’s one of the best texts on ski mountaineering available.