Book Review: The God Of Skiing By Peter Kray
Yes, this is another review of The God of Skiing. And no, the book is not about Ullr. If you’re looking for a book to read, pick up a copy of Peter Kray’s The God of Skiing. It’s being touted as “The Greatest Ski Novel Of All Time.” I’ve read quite a few ski novels, but none have so beautifully captured the life of the ski bum like this one – at least not one that I have read.
The God of Skiing mixes fact, fiction, and a touch of autobiography into an accurate lyrical portrayal of the skiing lifestyle. As Kray says, “In order to tell what’s true, I made up a couple things. But only to balance out what I’m still afraid of telling.”
To do this, he created Tack Strau, a fictional character who embodies the ski culture. Is he based on one person? No. He is a conglomeration of local ski legends. Strau is not the image on the cover either. That’s Fritz Stammberger, the first person to ski North Maroon near Aspen in 1971. Stammberger eventually disappeared in the mountains of Pakistan, but that’s another story.
Kray writes of Strau, “”He dropped acid every day, living on beer and water, heading out on trekking skis where the slopes echo tree-less as beaches, white and blue and beyond.” Strau is the ski bum that everyone aspires to be.
After a mysterious disappearance from the collegiate ski circuit, Strau pops up in Jackson, WY, where he epitomizes the ski bum life – complete with pow turns, Toby the dog, and other wild events. The novel hops around a bit, but the beautifully written ramblings bring the world of skiing to life. Kray makes you feel like you are there – and maybe you were.
The book really does explore the entire world of skiing too. From World Cup races to Olympics to ski mountaineering to ski town culture to slaying the resorts to chasing powder to epic seasons to winters that came a bit late to other skiing related gems, Kray hits on it. The book takes you on a journey through the entire world of skiing. And as we all know, “”It’s only two or three storms that separate a good season from a bad one.”
Kray does an excellent job of bringing in real life skiing heroes too – 10th Mountain Division skiers, Bill Briggs, Herman Maier, Bode Miller, Fritz Stammberger, Alberto Tomba, Doug Coombs, Theo Mieners, and others. Yet, somehow Tack Strau always seems come back onto the scene weaving the story together.
The God of Skiing does an excellent job of summing up the ski industry in snippets of wise wisdom and bits of truth. Some of it will sound familiar. Other things you’ll be able to relate too. Other bits will sound unbelievable. And a few things you might even remember.
Kray sums up why we all love skiing. His lyrical narrative explains why we, as skiers, have chosen this addictive sport and shaped our entire world around it.
“For a sport so present in the now, it’s the memories that make it important. Those long moments lost to a turn, and the feeling of flying when you are thinking of everything and nothing at the same time,” writes Kray. And we all know what he means.
This is a book that anyone who loves the skiing lifestyle needs to read. It might even be one I read each season. At only 179 pages, you can breeze through this wild ride in no time.
Currently, you can only purchase The God Of Skiing from Mira Digital Publishing. It costs $13.95 + Shipping.
UPDATE: Buy The God Of Skiing By Peter Kray on Amazon.
Kray is an award winning author based in Colorado. He is a notable ski writer and has traveled the globe to write about the sport he loves. He is also a publisher at the GearInstitute. The God of Skiing is his first novel.