DEEP is a book about skiers, written and produced by skiers, with a message that reaches beyond the mountains.
In its pages, author Porter Fox takes an in-depth look at the sport, and at the mountains and snowfall that make it possible. This is not a tale of the end. It is a beginning – a reminder of how dynamic and fulfilling the skiing life is – and a wake-up call for how to save it.
The concept for the book came from two Jackson Hole, Wyo. skiers who in 2012 contacted Fox, a longtime ski magazine editor and writer. They asked if he would write a book about climate change and snow. A year and a half later, DEEP: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow was born.
“Skiing offers a good barometer of the trouble we’re in – and, as this book reminds us, one more good reason for wanting to face that trouble,” said environmental writer Bill McKibben, also founder of 350.org.
Fox’s narrative follows the unlikely rise of skiing from prehistoric Norwegian hunters to nobility in the Alps in the 1800s, to present-day freeriders in the Rockies. Touring the most celebrated peaks in the northern Hemisphere – from the Cascade Range to Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn – and with a stop in Big Sky – Fox talks to alpinists about the allure and mysticism of the sport, and to scientists about climate change and its effect on snow.
Ultimately, he finds a story far larger than the impending demise of skiing.
For the seven million skiers in America who dedicate their winters to tracking storms and waking at dawn to catch first chair, the lifestyle change will be radical, according to DEEP. Furthermore, he writes, it will likely be far worse for the rest of the world.
Fox uses primary evidence and interviews, mixed with groundbreaking scientific studies, to explain exactly how and when the Great Melt will play out, the vital importance snow and ice have to Earth’s climate system and the tremendous groundswell rising up to fight climate change.
“Without intervention, winter temperatures are projected to warm an additional 4-10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, with subsequent decreases in snow cover area, snowfall and shorter snow seasons,” according to a study by PhD candidates in the University of New Hampshire’s interdisciplinary Natural Resources and Earth System Sciences program.
The study, called “Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States,” also predicts snow depths could decline in the Western U.S. by 25-100 percent, and the length of winter in the Northeast will be cut in half.
According to the European Union Center for Climate Adaptation, of 666 surveyed ski resorts in the Alps, 75 percent won’t have reliable snow by the end of the century.
In DEEP, Fox goes on to map a way to mitigate global warming, reduce human impact on the planet and repair the water cycle. As it turns out, the efforts to save snow and ice might end up saving the world.
“This is the most important book on snow ever written,” said Jeremy Jones, a professional snowboarder and founder of the nonprofit Protect Our Winters. “It’s a wake up call to everyone in snow sports that the clock is ticking – we need to accept our reality and get busy fixing climate change.”
Fox grew up skiing in northern Maine and graduated in 1994 from Middlebury College, where he ski patrolled for the Middlebury Snow Bowl and sold season passes at Mad River Glen. He has since
written and edited for the Jackson Hole News , Powder Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, Outside, Men’s Journal and National Geographic Adventure, been anthologized in Best American Travel Writing, and nominated for two Pushcart Prizes as well as the 2009 Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize.
$14.95 paperback. DEEP is available in bookstores and digitally.