homeSki Tours in Southern California

Book Reviews

[snowman] The following book review appeared in the Sierra Club's Hi Sierran (p. 10, January/February 2001 issue):

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Bookstore to feature autographing with club's own ski-tour author

The Sierra Club Book Store in proud to host local author and Sierra Club member Dan Anderson, a former ExCom member of our chapter, 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23 [2001] for a short talk and slideshow about his new book. He will be available to sign copies of his book for sale at the store. 3820 Ray St., San Diego (619-299-1797).

Review by Glenn Torbett

Daniel E. Anderson
Dan Anderson, author, skier

For many years I have watched with envy as Dan Anderson, a veteran of 22 years of cross country skiing, carved beautiful telemark turns down snowy slopes. Even the thick sticky snow known as "Sierra cement" that would grab and hold me prisoner could not stop Dan's poetry on skis.

Dan, a member of the Sierra Club since 1974 and a long time Sierra Club Chapter Outing Leader known as a man of few words, has now turned to writing some poetry (well, prose, anyway). In Ski Tours in Southern California (ISBN 0-9614527-4-9) he has shared his knowledge of the abundant ski trails of our region. This book fills a major missing link in the cross country ski literature.

Because the snow in Southern California often lasts far into the spring, unlike many places more commonly thought of as snow country, it can be a long ski season.

Dan's book has a little something for everyone, from non-skier to expert. At its core it is a clear tour guide, with interesting information thrown in (do you know where the world's largest lodgepole pine is?). There are 68 trips with trail maps, including four in San Diego County. In addition to the well researched trail instructions, there are excellent directions to guide you to the trailheads.

Even though the book has a great collection of trips for the XC ski veteran, including those skiers that like their trips long or steep, there are also plenty of wonderful trips and useful information for beginners as well (how should you position your body when going faster?). The two trips to the Laguna Mountains of San Diego County are ideal for beginners. "Ski Tours in Southern California" also includes great photos, some XC ski history, safety tips, skiing basics, ski gear information and even fashion tips and skiing etiquette (what do you do with a sitz mark?). And for those who cannot tolerate either cold or snow, there is a trip to Kelso Dunes in the Mojave Desert where you ski on sand -- a definite change of pace from your usual skiing venue! "Ski Tours in Southern California" should expand your skiing horizons.

Don't forget to look on page 27 in the Outings section in this Hi Sierran for the Cross Country Ski Section's trips. Most trips take beginners and give lessons. The prices on the trips are pretty reasonable too. And you will rarely be cold. XC Skiing in California is, in fact, most often a "fun in the sun" activity. For most it is fun. And it is in the sun, so make sure you take lots of sunscreen and use it often, even under your nose, chin and ears so that your memory of the trip will stay fun after you get home. Dan learned that on his first trip. "My face was bright red and it all peeled."

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Skier's Caution!
Skiing can be dangerous! This book isn't a substitute for your own common sense. Don't use this book unless you are willing to take personal responsibility for your own safety. When skiing, be aware of hazards from inclement weather, ice, and hidden obstacles (such as holes, trees, streams, and rocks). Prepare yourself--bring proper gear, be fit, and obtain sufficient training and experience appropriate for the ski tour. Take part in a regular conditioning program and professional ski instruction--this will increase your enjoyment of skiing. Nothing in this book grants the right to trespass over private land.

© 2001-2006 Daniel E. Anderson. All rights reserved.