Heather Skinner

October 24, 2022

Books for winter, skiing, and snow lovers from University of Minnesota Press

It's hard to believe that fall is already here, but winter is just around the corner and as we approach the season of holiday book gift-guide round-ups, I would love to suggest a few recent and forthcoming University of Minnesota Press books that would make great gifts for those who love snow, skiing, and winter.

For fiction fans (and thrill seekers who love ski-jumping!):
The Ski Jumpers: A Novel by Peter Geye
You might know author Peter Geye from his previous award-winning novels Safe from the Sea, The Lighthouse Road, Wintering, and Northernmost. Peter's fifth novel is The Ski Jumpers, which centers on a former competitive ski jumper, Jon Bargaard, now in his 60s and trying to write a book about his life and his fractured family history. Brothers Jon and Anton Bargaard used to be ski jumpers, back when they were boys and their innocence intact. But circumstances change, and few so dramatically as theirs. Fueled by family secrets and bitter recrimination, they’ve spent their adult lives estranged from each other. When they reconnect in the Minneapolis neighborhood of their childhood the night of their father’s wake, what begins in distrust evolves into an evening of forgiveness and reconciliation. The Ski Jumpers thrills with its descriptions of soaring flights and abiding familial love.

For the curious, picture-book loving child enchanted by winter:
One Winter Up North by John Owens
Who made these tracks? A deer? A hare? A fox? And far off there’s a musher, making tracks with his sled dogs. A wintery adventure that unfolds in pictures, John Owens’s delightful wordless book gives readers a chance to discover—or rediscover—another season full of wonder in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As one reviewer noted, "This is an absolutely gorgeous book. One Winter Up North truly illustrates the joy of winter camping, the comforts of wilderness travel, and the sense of awe this season brings to anyone who embraces it." It's a beautiful journey through the wilderness in winter, snowshoeing the frozen lakes and silent forest with family, encountering the wonders of northern wildlife in the cold season, and a book your little one will want to look at again and again.

For the history buff who loves all things skiing:
Winter's Children: A Celebration of Nordic Skiing by Ryan Rodgers
Winter’s Children traces Nordic skiing in the Midwest from its introduction in the late 1800s to its uncertain future in today’s changing climate. Generously illustrated, this is an engaging look at the earliest ski teams and touring clubs; the evolution of cross-country skis, gear, and fashion; and the ambitious effort to maintain a vast trail network across Minnesota’s state park system. Olympic gold-medalist and cross-country skier Jessie Diggins had this to say about the book, "Ryan Rodgers captures the essence of cross-country skiing in the Midwest, from its earliest days of making wooden skis to the snowmaking loops and large races of today. Learning the rich history of the sport I love so much brings an even greater appreciation to skiing and all the amazing individuals who have collectively changed the sport over the years. The detail and character of the photos woven into Rodgers's storytelling bring this amazing history to life."

And speaking of Jessie Diggins, for the uber fan:
Brave Enough by Jessie Diggins with Todd Smith
Jessie Diggins reveals the true story of her journey from the American Midwest into sports history. With candid charm and characteristic grit, she connects the dots from her free-spirited upbringing in the woods of Minnesota to racing in the bright spotlights of the Olympics. Going far beyond stories of races and ribbons, she describes the challenges and frustrations of becoming a serious athlete; learning how to push through and beyond physical and psychological limits; and the intense pressure of competing at the highest levels.

For those who love inspiring stories of adventure and determination (in the bleak and beautiful bone-chilling cold of Antarctica):
Skiing into the Bright Open: My Solo Journey to the South Pole by Liv Arnesen, foreword by Ann Bancroft, translated by Roland Huntford
Liv Arnesen describes the exhausting, exhilarating experience of being the first known woman to ski unsupported to the South Pole. A story of gritty determination, thrilling achievement, and perseverance in the face of daunting odds, it is, ultimately, an object lesson in the power of a dream if one is willing to pursue it to the ends of the earth.