5 Books You’ll Actually Read about Skiing Legends, Climate Change, Ultimate Human Performance & Survival

Alex K | Book ReviewBook Review | BrainsBrains
Read a Book.

For some of you athletes into adrenaline-pumping sports like skiing and snowboarding the idea of sitting still for hours and reading can seem daunting or almost impossible. If that is you, or if you’re like me and just looking for something to read other than your Facebook feed look no further. Here I have 5 books that you’ll actually finish. Honestly. Whether you’re looking to be inspired, be more informed or just trying to become a better athlete these non-fiction novels will help explore all of those while keeping you highly entertained.


tracking the wild coomba book
Tracking the Wild Coomba

Tracking the Wild Coomba: The Life of Legendary Skier Doug Coombs
Robert Cocuzzo

I’m putting this book on the top of the list because like Doug Coombs himself it’s where it deserves to be. “Tracking the Wild Coomba” follows the remarkable career of Combs from his early days skiing the wild slopes of Tuckermans Ravine, NH to playing it swift with the Jackson Hole Air Force, his uncanny ability to guide clients safely down the steepest slopes as a guide in Alaska and to the remarkable final years in La Grave before his last fateful fall. I found myself glued to this book for hours with my heart rate up a few beats the entire time. Author Robert Cocuzzo’s incredible research combined with his own personal experience tells a story that will leave you more inspired, educated, motivated and wanting to be a little bit more like Doug Coombs.

“In Tracking the Wild Coomba, author Robert Cocuzzo doesn’t just profile the great Doug Coombs in remarkable detail, he takes us on a journey through one of the most pivotal and influential time periods in big mountain skiing. From Jackson Hole to Alaska, and Montana to the Alps, Cocuzzo digs deep to introduce us to the characters who, with Coombs as their fearless leader, left an indelible imprint on skiing today.”
– Matt Hansen, Powder magazine Editor-at-Large


The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
Steven Kotler

New York Times Bestseller. Wall Street Journal Bestseller.

You might call it “being in the zone” but the author and the master decoder of ultimate human performance Steven Kotler calls it being in “flow.” Building on over a decade of research and working with athletes such as snowboarders Travis Rice and Jeremy Jones, big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, skydive and base jumper JT Holmes and skateboarding legend Danny Way, Kotler will teach you the ways to become a better athlete by reaching the most optimal state of consciousness where we feel and achieve our absolute best.
The Rise of Superman has completely changed the way I mentally prepare for and practice my skiing and has broken the ceiling on what I now think is possible. It’s also the only book I’ve ever heard of to have a trailer made for it. If you have any intention of being a better performing human athlete watch the trailer above and purchase this book. Highly Recommended.


climb to conquer book
A Climb To Conquer

Climb to Conquer
Peter Shelton

The start of World War II brought a need to the Army of athletic men who could withstand the elements and extremely dangerous conditions of the mountains; the result of that need was the Elite 10th Mountain Division. This is the only division of the US military based entirely from a sport, also one that suffered the most casualties during the war. After years of interviews and research author Peter Shelton re-creates the dramatic life of these troops as they prepare through boot camp all the way to a climatic and incredibly dangerous mission in the Italian Apennines. The 10th Mountain elites were snow and rock warriors, a band of brothers on skis and this is their unbelievable story.


Wall of White
A Wall of White

Wall of White: The True Story of Heroism and Survival in the Face of a Deadly Avalanche
Jennifer Woodlief

This thrilling, touching and heroic story is for anyone who enjoys living in a mountain town and is a must-read for residents of the Lake Tahoe area. In the winter of 1982, a once-in-a-lifetime avalanche found its way crashing down Alpine Meadows Ski Resort and along its way destroying lifts, burying lodges, killing 7 and leaving one struggling to beat death for five days under the snow. Jennifer Woodlief’s book “Wall of White” brings together the rich history of Alpine Meadows, its terrain, employees, and community for a gripping true story that builds and builds with excitement. When the shock wears off after finishing this book you feel not just a little more respect for the mountains but a need to become a bigger part of your community.

“Fiercely compelling and at times heartbreaking… A Wall of White builds with the power of an oncoming avalanche until the last, and final, redeeming moment. A powerhouse inside-look at mountain rescuers’ lives, A Wall of White deserves to fit on bookshelves alongside Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s A Perfect Storm.”
– Wayne Johnson, author of White Heat: The Extreme Skiing Life


Deep book cover
DEEP – The Story of Skiing and The Future of Snow

Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow
Porter Fox

“DEEP is the must-read story of how global warming is transforming the future of snow and the future of skiing. A powerful call to action for anyone who cares about the future of our planet.”
– Former U.S. Vice President and The Climate Reality Project Chairman Al Gore

This isn’t just a book about skiing. This is a book about climate change, about free riders, about the spirituality of our sport and a deep look at where it has come from and where it is heading. In “Deep” Porter Fox uses primary evidence, scientific studies and interviews from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc to explain how and why the Great Melt is playing out around the globe. Millions of us wake up every day with the hopes to go skiing with our friends but for how much longer can we do this? How and why is our natural world and sport ultimately changing? As we live in a time where every decision we make now has drastic impacts on the future of our environment this book will show you the map to mitigating your human impact and reduce the dangerous effects of global warming. An eye-opening read that can, and just may help save our world.

Grab a library card, get on Amazon or borrow one of these books from a buddy. You’ll be glad you did.

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2 thoughts on “5 Books You’ll Actually Read about Skiing Legends, Climate Change, Ultimate Human Performance & Survival

  1. I highly recommend both Tracking the Wild Coomba and Deep. If you are skiing in the Salt Lake City area, support a great local bookstore by picking them up at The King’s English.

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