Between the lines | AspenTimes.com

Between the lines

Paul E. Anna

Know a skier?Thought so. Well, Ive got a book for you. This may be the best Christmas gift you can give that special skier in your life.The book is the Aspen Ski and Snowboard Guide. It was authored by Aspen local, mountain climber, skier and rocket scientist Neal Beidleman. Neal is a legend in these parts, and he has brought his technical knowledge and his passions together to give us the definitive book on skiing and riding our four mountains.You may think you know Aspen skiing, but theres a bet here that even the most avid skiers will learn something from this jacket-pocket-sized edition. A warning: The book is geared to advanced and expert skiers, so it focuses on terrain that is not for everyone. Still, no matter your level, it is an entertaining and valuable guide about what is out there to explore.Beidleman begins by rating the expert runs on the mountains. Not with the usual circle, square, diamond symbols, but rather with an A to E criteria that designates the toughest slopes as ones that require written permission from your mother. The book shows 150 runs that are not on the official trail maps and provides detailed descriptions on how to access them, along with tips on what lines to ski in different conditions.You likely already know about Walshs and Jackpot, but have you left the Sundeck and linked Walshs to Gents Ridge to Jackpot to Slalom Hill to the Gondola? You know the Ys, the Gs and the Bs are in the Bowl, but do you know where to go to ski the new R-zones? By the way, did you know that the zones get their name from the first letter of the color spectrum of yellow, green, blue and red used in ski wax? Read Neals book and youll learn that and more.Perhaps the best part of the book are the photos clicked by a range of valley photographers such as Dan Bayer, Tomas Zuccareno and the author himself. Ski maps are great, but clear photos, taken on bluebird days and marked with clear diagrams of different lines, give readers an entirely new perspective on their alternatives in, say, the Dumps or in the Cirque.The book also utilizes the wit and wisdom of a number of well-known local ski and boarding heroes like Chris Davenport, Chris Klug and Christin Cooper (you gotta be named Chris to be a local hero?), who impart their personal passions for our local mountains.The Aspen Ski and Snowboard Guide can be found in local ski shops and bookstores. At $24.95 it may seem a bit pricey, but the smile on your favorite skiers face following their first trip down Gluteus or the Redneck loop will be well worth the investment.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.