Synopses & Reviews
Every year around the globe, people cross paths with avalanches-some massive, some no deeper than a pizza box-often with deadly results. Avalanche expert Jill Fredston stalks these so-called freaks of nature, forecasting where and when they will strike, deliberately triggering them with explosives, teaching potential victims how to stay alive, and leading rescue efforts when tragedy strikes.
Having spent decades trying to keep avalanches and people apart, Fredston brings them together unforgettably in Snowstruck. From a rare store of personal experience, she conveys a panorama of perspectives: a skier making what may prove his final decision, a victim buried so tightly that he can't move a finger, rescuers racing both time and weather, forecasters treading the line between reasonable risk and danger. Seamlessly interweaving these accounts, Fredston brings to life the awesome forces of nature that can turn the mountains deadly-and the equally inexorable forces of human nature that lure us time and again into treacherous terrain.
"Co-director, with her husband, Doug Fesler, of the Alaska Mountain Safety Center, the author is an expert on both the beauty and dangers of snowy mountain ranges. Combining the expressive reverence for nature evident in an earlier work, Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge, with her own experiences, Fredston sounds a wake-up call to those who ski, hike or drive snow machines through snow-packed peaks and passes. Avalanches, she says, are not completely unpredictable, and can be avoided by reading the snow scrupulously and picking routes carefully. Drawing also on her husband's research on the history of avalanches in Alaska, Fredston describes how she and Fesler teach those who enjoy the mountains the best ways to minimize their risk. She presents harrowing accounts of rescue efforts the two have led, highlighting fatal accidents that might have been avoided. Fredston details, for example, the death of her friend Todd, an experienced skier, whose joy in the sport overcame caution when he and his comrades embarked on a last run that sparked a deadly avalanche. Fredston conveys the emotional toll too many mountain deaths have taken on the couple as well as their sense of mission to prevent future tragedies. B&W photos. Agent, Stuart Krichevsky. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
PRAISE FOR ROWING TO LATITUDE
"[Fredston's] account will fascinate adventure-narrative enthusiasts . . . Full of intriguing personal digressions and moments of high drama . . . Rowing to Latitude often reads like an explorer's journal."--The Wall Street Journal
"The book is far more . . . than an adventure travel narrative. It also is a deeply personal memoir and love story."--The Salt Lake Tribune
PRAISE FOR SNOWSTRUCK
"Gripping . . . while her thrilling, sometimes tragic, accounts of victims and rescuers alike keep the pages flying by, it's Fredston's larger preoccupation with humanity's need to flirt with danger that gives the book its overarching grandeur and heft."--Elle
"Fredston's writing is so vibrant you almost want to pull on a down parka while reading her tales of calamitous snowslides and dangerous helicopter rescues."--The Washington Post Book World
About the Author
JILL FREDSTON is the author of Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge, which won a 2002 National Outdoor Book Award. She and her husband, Doug Fesler, are codirectors of the Alaska Mountain Safety Center. They live in the mountains above Anchorage.
Table of Contents
Moments of Truth 2
Union of Circumstance 36
Unburying the Past 70
A Walk in the Park 104
Rules of Engagement 130
The Game of Jeopardy158
Silver Screens 190
Line of Fire 210
Heat of Friction 240
Faces in the Dark 278
Truth or Consequences 308