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The Snow Tourist

A Search for the World's Purest, Deepest Snowfall

List Price: $15.95

November 10, 2009 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.2, 272 Pages | ISBN 9781582435206
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"A far more intriguing account than much current travel literature... The places he visits are sometimes perilously cold, but English's account is touchingly warm." —Guardian

Combining on-the-slopes experience with off-trail research, author Charlie English follows in the footsteps of the Romantic poets across the Alps, learns how to build igloos with the Inuit on Baffin Island, examines snow-patches in the Cairngorms to detect signs of global warming, and tests his mettle on some of the most perilous peaks on Earth. Along the way, he meets up with a flurry of fellow enthusiasts, from avalanche survivors and resort operators to climate scientists and champion skiers.

English is obsessed with snow, and has collected for our enjoyment an amazing array of not-so-random facts about the hexagonal substance that fills the human imagination with wonder. In this “snow handbook,” he describes how snow is created, how to build an igloo, how avalanches occur, and (more importantly) how to survive an avalanche. His glossary is filled with snow terms that will delight, such as “couloir,” “hoarfrost,” “firn,” and “sastrugi.”

Fresh and fun and infused with the adrenaline of adventure, The Snow Tourist is a fascinating account of one man’s pilgrimage through the world’s blanketed fields, ice-capped rooftops, cozy igloos, and snow-covered mountain peaks.

CHARLIE ENGLISH is an associate editor of the Guardian. He has been a skier and snowboarder for most of his life. He lives in London with his family, and The Snow Tourist is his first book.


“A far more intriguing account than much current travel literature . . . The places he visits are sometimes perilously cold, but English’s account is touchingly warm.” —Guardian

“A cracking read that deserves to be by the bedside of every keen skier or snowboarder.” —The Economist

“An enchanting tale of one man’s search for snow, a report on the precarious state of our extreme climates, an evocative poem to lost childhood winters: I was gripped, from the first flakes to the final thaw.” —Joanna Kavenna, author of The Ice Museum

“A thing of wonder and delight. A perfect winter book.” —Metro

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