Grays on Trays came about, in part, out of our frustration at not being able to find books on snowboarding that were not written for the juvenile department of the public library. Over time, a few books have surfaced. Here are some that have caught our attention, though it must be said that inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement.
Snowboarding Skills: The Back to Basics Essentials for All Levels, by Cindy Kleh. Firefly Books, 2002, 128pp.
In addition to offering both a glossary and an index (an unusual combination in this genre), Snowboarding Skillsspends a lot of time on “the back-to-basics essentials,” as promised in the subtitle. The chapter “board basics,” for example, starts off on the topic of how to walk with one foot secured to the board–one of the early, difficult tasks of learning to ride.
With lots of step-by-step photos, the first two-thirds of the book is a solid introduction for novice through intermediate riders, and lends itself well to those looking to get started, or to develop into solid cruisers. The last third of the book gives a too-quick whirl through riding in the park, pipe, and various snow conditions. More advanced riders will want to consult Kevin Ryan’s book (see below).
No-Fall Snowboarding, by Danny Martin, Fireside, November 2005, 304pp.
If you’ve watched martial arts movies, you may have a sense of the feel of this book. Martin is a big fan of Bruce Lee. Martin makes heavy use of “shoulder steering,” and on many occasions labels the technique taught by the American Association of Snowboard Instructors as “wrong.” Even if you do not buy into his “patented” approach–it’s not the approached used by the publisher of this web site, for example–there are still some useful sections in the book, such as the chapter on reading the terrain.
Snowboarding, a Woman’s Guide, by Julia Carlson et al. Ragged Mountain Press, 1999, 142pp.
As the subtitle (“A Woman’s Guide”) suggests, the book pays special attention to the needs of women. Can you ride while pregnant? One woman explains why she did. (Note: the publisher of this web site, who is not a physician, wishes to point out that many web sites dealing with sports and medicine strongly recommend against engaging in fall-prone activities, such as snowboarding, during pregnancy). How should physical differences between the sexes affect equipment (women’s feet tend to be more narrow in the ankle and forefoot, for example).
“Grays” of either sex will appreciate the photos and references of older riders, some into their 50s. “Hey, I can do that” becomes more real when you see people of your own age.
Like most books I have seen on the subject, “Snowboarding: A Woman’s Guide” takes a while (three chapters) to get down to discussing the actual techniques of snowboarding, but offers a solid introduction to the fundamentals that will help any rider.
Carlson opens and closes the book with thoughts on why it may be worthwhile for adults to learn how to snowboard. The book opens with the practical (less equipment than skiing) and closes out with mini-narratives of riding (carving, in powder, trees, carving, bumps, and terrain parks) that invigorate the spirit.
The Illustrated Guide to Snowboarding, by Kevin Ryan. Masters Press, 1998, 317pp.
Ryan packs a lot of material into the book. The early chapters deal with the most important piece of equipment an adult rider can have–the brain–and proceeds through techniques and tricks that may be beyond the grasp (or interest) of some. Nicely graded. If you’re an intermediate or advanced rider, jump into the chapters just for you. There’s something good about having a book that you can grow into. Ryan is also a friend of Grays on Trays. See the article on bootfitting that he contributed to the site, for example.
Snowboarding for Women: A Guide for the Shred Betty Wannabe, by Chickie Rosenberg, Showdog Snowboard, 2004, 192 pp.
At age 50, Chickie Rosenberg started snowboarding after 30 years of skiing, and one torn ACL. That was in 1990. She died in 2013, but her legacy includes two books. This is one of them.
The Snowboard Book: A Guide for All Boarders, by Lowell Hart, W.W. Norton, 1997, 160pp.
An oldie but goodie, this book–“way back” in 1997–proclaims that snowboarding “is no longer solely the province of rebellious, image-conscious adolescents. In fact, the segments of the snowboarding population that are expanding the most are adults, small children, and women.” Like most of the books here, it takes you through the basics and then has separate chapters for making adjustments for powder and ice.
Snowboarding: A Guide for Guys, by Chickie Rosenberg, Showdog Snowboard, 2004, 199pp.
A follow-up work to Snowboarding for Women, this book takes a somewhat different tone, but comes from the same author.
Snowboarding Experts: Freeriding, Race, Freestyle, by Christof Weiss, Barron’s, 1998.
This book is translated from the German, and it shows. The English translation is stilted and reads at time like an academic paper rather than something meant for a mass audience. It is meant, furthermore, not for the beginner or even the competent casual recreational rider, but for someone who wants to reach the top level of competition. There’s a heavy emphasis on racing in hard boots that is out of place with most of today’s snowboarders, and fans of freestyle progression will find the description of tricks near-prehistoric. The parts about general physical training may still be useful, but developments in gear, the teaching of snowboarding techniques, the practice of most snowboarders, and the politics of competing organizations that sanction competitions have all rendered this book obsolete. History buffs may appreciate the references to snowboard pioneers such as Craig Kelly and Terje Hakonson, not to mention neon clothing.
The Complete Snowboarder, by Jeff Bennett et al. Ragged Mountain Press, 2000, 160pp.
Not yet reviewed.
The Unofficial Guide to Skiing and Snowboarding in the West, by Claire Walter et. al, Wiley, 2003, 600pp.
With resorts making changes each year, it’s hard for any book to be up to date, but this selection gives you a good place to begin comparing destination resorts.