Jules Older is a man with a mission. Among the many hats he wears, he’s a writer and an editor. He’s also a skier. And for over 10 years, he was the editor in chief of Ski Press Canada and Ski Press USA, before these publications folded in 2010.
Last fall, Jules received an email from a buddy. This email detailed a unique way to score a cheap room at Whistler during the height of ski season. Jules’ first thought was “I’d kill to publish this.” This got him thinking. Without a publication like Ski Press, who would publish this sort of long-form ski writing? Then, it struck him: he would.
Thus, Skiing The Edge: Humor, Humiliation, Holiness and Heart was born. Jules was already armed with two stories, the aforementioned In the Jailhouse Now by Gerry Wingenbach, and Ski Like a Man by Kristen Ulmer (which he commissioned for Ski Press but never published). So in October 2011 Jules sent word to the North American community of ski writers: Send stories. Send stories that are “personal, revealing, embarrassing, brilliantly written.” By December 1, Skiing the Edge was for sale as an e-book on iTunes, Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.
Skiing the Edge
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading Skiing the Edge. I pick it up and read a bit. Then I put it down. Later, I pick it up again.
Some of the pieces make me think. Some leave barely any impression. Some make me wonder “why this one?” Others appeal so intensely, they begin to haunt. In other words, it’s a good compilation: diverse, unpredictable and varied.
Something I really appreciate about Skiing the Edge is the generous inclusion of female voices. If you haven’t noticed, snowsports writing is dominated by male voices. Sometimes the writer behind the voice is female, but given the demographics of snowsports in general, and the population that has time to read about snowsports, it’s a man’s world.
Maybe that’s why the submissions from women in Skiing the Edge, resonate so strongly with me. The exception was Ski Like A Man, in which I think Ulmer writes like a man — to good result — but it wasn’t for me.
Instead, I found myself moved and intrigued (in a watch-the-train-wreck sort of way) by Lisa Richardson’s The Longest Day, about a tragic lift accident at Whistler. As the mother of two boys, I appreciated Beth Jahnigen’s observations on the male ski bum in Navigating the BROmuda Triangle. I ached along with Jenn Weede as she chronicles her journey with chronic pain in Love Hurts. And I commiserated with Moira McCarthy on the challenges of bonding and skiing with a teen in her essay, Family Therapy.
And yes, there is much excellent writing from the men of our species as well.
Make the Investment
If you’ve got an eReader (or an eReader app on your computer), you too can read Skiing The Edge. Purchasing this book will set you back a whopping $3.39 ($3.99 for iPad) — less than most coffees, ice creams and popcorn at the movies. With summer coming, I promise you, you’ll find an afternoon — at the beach, in the mountains, maybe just chilling in your home while the kids sleep and the husband mows the lawn (hint, hint) — when you’ll turn to Skiing The Edge. In less than 10 minutes, you can read one or two stories. You’ll feel the air turn cold and the landscape turn white. You’ll escape and be glad you did.
How About Another Investment?
Buoyed by the reception for Skiing The Edge, Jules has plans cooking for a second volume. Now, while it is much quicker and less expensive to publish electronically than on good, sturdy paper, it still costs money. And Jules, being the professional he is, pays his writers.
So, to kickstart Skiing the Edge, Volume 2, Jules is working with the microfinancer Kickstarter which pairs small (think $5 and up) investors with worthy projects. Projects approved by Kickstarter are given one month to meet their fundraising goal.
Jules’ goal for Skiing the Edge, Volume 2 is $11,000 and it expires on April 29th at 2:26 EDT. If the goal is not met, all investors get their money back. Check out the proposal online. I hope you’ll support his effort.
To facilitate this review, I received a PDF of Skiing the Edge (yes, I am a Luddite). All opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
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