Summer Reading

With the solstice officially behind us it is a good time to earnestly engage in some off season training. For many athletes training is something that generally comes pretty easily to those requiring constant physical activity. However, more and more research continues to pile up in defense of down time and rest days. These rebuilding days are integral to positive physical development and yet can be cognitively difficult to manage. So for those looking for a little inspiration and some ways to put those down days to good use here is a quick list of books to work through as you prepare for your next adventure.

1) Training for the new Alpinism – Only a hundred pages into this book but it is dense with valuable information. Put this on the top of the reading list as it will assist with your summer training program.

2) The Black Swan – As mentioned on the research and education page, this book should be mandatory reading for those interested in improbable events that inevitably occur (avalanches??).

3) Deep – Because as skiers and outdoor athletes we have perhaps the greatest responsibility to care for the environment that allows us to take part in the sports and activities we love. I am looking forward to getting through Fox’s seemingly well researched and written book.


  1. Devil’s advocate here:
    Do you think ‘The Black Swan’ applies to avalanches? Taleb repeatedly states that he’s talking about non-natural ‘extremistan’ phenomena. Outliers that are by definition not predictable. Surely avalanches can be predicted?

    1. I think The Black Swan applies to systems that are governed by an overarching environment whose complexity is consistently beyond full comprehension. Taleb’s division of natural from non-natural is a bit misleading given that the latter is always dependent on the former. Just like stocks we can give best guesses at where and when an avalanche will occur based upon some simple variables and formulas but there is never complete certainty of a specific outcome. Some people ski 38 degree slopes on high/extreme days and don’t get caught. Then there are the unlucky few who get caught on a low day. I don’t think it is any mistake that on a considerable or moderate day is when most incidents occur. To me this is where the black swans live. Many people go skiing on days with these ratings in places they know well and thus feel safe…..until it slides.

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