Ski season has just about reached its end in Maine, with snow melting in much of the state and temperatures reaching the 60s this weekend. Now is the perfect time to check out books and movies about skiing that have recently been released. With little chance to ski until the fall, these offer your only chance to escape to the slopes.

Patrick Thorne’s “Powder: The Greatest Ski Runs on the Planet,” remains the best of the recent bunch. A full-color, coffee table-sized hardcover, the book takes readers through legendary slopes.

Thorne (nicknamed “Snowhunter”) made it his life’s goal to ski every skiable location on the planet, and has cataloged more than 6,000 areas in 80 countries. It’s nice to see some runs in our neck of the woods. Though no Maine runs are listed, Stowe and Mont-Sainte-Anne get the spotlight.

For a world-spanning book focused more on the journey than the destinations, a nice alternative is Kit Deslaurier’s “Higher Love.” The memoir follows the author’s quest to climb and ski the “Seven Summits,” the highest peak on each of the seven continents.

“Higher Love” lives in the same sweet spot as Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” and Robyn Davidson’s “Tracks,” mixing an adventure travel narrative with personal struggles and discovery. Deslaurier writes beautifully about skiing corn snow in Australia or trudging through Antarctica, but the stories of passion, focus and determination are as captivating.

With the nationals at Sugarloaf, Nathaniel Vinton’s “The Fall Line” is a timely read. Subtitled “How American Ski Racers Conquered a Sport on the Edge,” the book details American skiers Lindsay Vonn and Bode Miller eclipsing European rivals. The bulk of the book chronicles their rise in the year leading to their wins at the 2010 Olympics.

Also among essential reading is Porter Fox’s “Deep.” Published just over a year ago, it examines climate change. After looking as skiing’s 8,000-year history, Fox pulls in facts from scientists, snow experts and avalanche forecasters, as well as anecdotes from those who have seen dozens of seasons on the slopes. In later chapters, “Deep” investigates how skiers can affect change to keep skiing and snow around in the future.

Though he lives in Brooklyn, Fox was raised in Maine – the introduction has anecdotes about skiing Sugarloaf.

Although women make up about 40 percent of skiers, only 14 percent of the athletes in films last year were women, up from 9 percent the year before. That’s why “Pretty Faces” is groundbreaking. Directed by pro skier Lynsey Dyer, it’s an all-female ski documentary featuring women from recreational enthusiasts to pros. In Dyer’s words, the movie is meant to “give young girls something positive to look up to … I wanted to give them their “Blizzard of Ahhs,” “Ski Movie” or “High Life,” but done in a way that also shows the elegance, grace, community and style that is unique to women in the mountains.”

Two of the season’s best film projects didn’t get a traditional retail release. Vermont-based Meathead Films, which in recent years shifted from traditional DVD/Blu-Ray releases to a webisode model, kicked off the second season of its “Working for the Weekend” series on The series follows a Portland lawyer, Ben Leoni, as he skis the backcountry of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

After bursting onto the ski movie scene last year with the wonderful “Valhalla,” Sweetgrass Productions followed up this season with the short film “Afterglow.” Produced with electronics giant Philips, the movie was filmed entirely at night under massive lights, featuring skiers in LED suits. It’s unlike any other ski movie you’ve ever seen. The short, which clocks in at just over 10 minutes, is watchable for free at

John Christie is a former ski racer and ski area manager and owner, a ski historian and member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. He and his son, Josh, write columns on alternating weeks. He can be reached at:

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