(Last Updated On: April 17, 2010)
During my trip to the Tetons last spring I was, needless to say, pretty excited about future ski mountaineering trips to the Jackson area. We were able to ski the classic Skillet Glacier route on Mount Moran as well as the Middle Teton, but obviously that only scratches the surface of what is available.
So when we were in Jackson, I hunted down and found a copy of Thomas Turiano’s Teton Skiing: A History & Guide To The Teton Range. Once home, I devoured the book with thoughts of skiing many of the lines within the book. The major landmark lines tend to have a thourough recounting of the first descent, while minor lines often have no more than a sentence or two. Rather than proclaim descents as “first descents”, this book simply calls them “Early Descents”, which is an easy way of avoiding any controversies. The amount of information packed into this book is simply astounding, with every conceivable peak and subpeak mentioned to some degree.
As a guidebook, very little information is actually given for the routes. While skiers accustomed to step-by-step climbing instructions may be dismayed, this book’s format leaves skiers to discover the routes for themselves. Trailhead directions could be more clear, however.
At times the book can bog down in a ___peak skied by ___skier in ___year on the ___face format. A new edition of the book would be a huge improvement from the current 1995 edition, and countless descents have been made since that time. What would really improve the book more than anything, however, would be more pictures with the routes labeled. While this would probably increase the price of the book considerably, a picture can sometimes be worth a thousand words, as the saying goes.
All in all, the staggering amount of information within this book is what truly sets it apart. The Tetons may be the only range in North America to receive such a worthwhile history book. While this book may not have the same “eye candy” appeal to light a fire within the heart of a ski mountaineer, the history alone makes up for it. Two thumbs up from this ski mountaineer, and a must-have for any ski-mountaineering library.