I like the Snowboarding the World travel guide. It feels good. It’s got that high quality glossy finish that makes you happy when you pick it up. It’s a nice book.
But luckily that’s not all it is. StW is also a very good travel guide. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction, which lays out nicely what the book is trying to achieve:
Snowboarders are, by definition, travellers. Unless you’re lucky enough to live at the foot of a mountain, the typical snowboarding trip means planning an overseas journey – and making some important decisions.
So how do you narrow down the options? Unlike surfing, with its rich culture, sophisticated market and detailed guidebooks, snowboarding travel literature lags behind. Such guides as do exist are often poorly researched, badly written and – unforgivably – guilty of propogating the same hackneyed opinions that have been current since the first pioneers decided to decend a hill while standing sideways.
Apart from the aesthetics of the book, there are 3 main things that appeal to me with this guide:
- It’s different to the other guides I’ve read. It has a slightly different format, which works nicely, and it’s not repeating previous information
- It’s interesting. As well as the resort guides themselves, there are Riders’ Tales and Lift Chat sections scattered throughout the pages – and they really add to the book
- It’s up to date. The destinations covered and the content reflect what’s going on now with snowboarding
Layout of the guide
The guide starts with some essentials. A brief introduction looking at different aspects of planning a snowboarding trip: packages, do it yourself, airlines, are you looking for powder, park or partying… that type of thing. It even includes a list of snow gods. There’s also a cool section covering 6 of the best and 6 of the worst, in categories such as underground classics and must do runs.
The rest of the book is concerned with the resort-by-resort guide, covering Austria, Canada, Eastern Europe & Middle East, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Scandinavia, South America, Spain & Andorra, Switzerland and the USA. All in all, one hundred top resorts.
And here’s one of the bits I really like. Each destination opens up with 8 pages or so of general information. What are the overall pros and cons of that country? How to get there. Traditions, eating, price guide and when’s good to go. What’s the off-piste policy and what’s the scene like? Top tips and star resorts… these sections within the guide do an excellent job of giving you a feel for what it will be like to go there.
Then there are the individual resorts, 2 pages dedicated to each. At first glance it might feel like there isn’t that much information here – not a lot is written about any individual aspect. If you’re after in-depth descriptions this probably won’t appeal to you.
But I think the format used works really well. There’s a wide range of small snippets presented that give a good impression of the resort. Little things like Internet access, what to do on flat light days and if you like this resort… try…. My favourite bit, which I read first, is the side-bar summary. It covers: Locals Do, Locals Don’t, Pros, Cons, Not To Miss, Remember To Avoid, Snow Depth and Relive A Famous Moment.
If you’re buying a travel guide, chances are you’re interested in the subject. But I think that StW scores particularly high here. There’s a long list of Riders’ Tales and Lift Chat spread throughout the book; topics such as Cliff drops in Canada, Making movies and The genesis of Tignes. It’s all good. I hope that this is the type of content that they can change and update with future revisions of the book.
One of the key aims of the authors was to produce fresh and up to date information. I think they succeeded here. Looking at the acknowledgements, they used sources from far and wide, and it shows. The information in the guide feels current, and the range of resorts reflects some of the newer thinking in snowboarding.
I think it’s an excellent guide book. Wonderfully produced, loads of great photos, interesting and most importantly it’s successful in helping you decide where you’d like to go. Perhaps it’s not the cheapest guide book around, but I think it’s worth it. Brilliant – maybe it deserves a place on our list of top snowboard books? What do you guys think?