Snowstruck: In the Grip of Avalanches

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9780151012497: Snowstruck: In the Grip of Avalanches

Every year around the globe, people cross paths with avalanches-some massive, some no deeper than a pizza box-often with deadly results. Avalanche expert Jill Fredston stalks these so-called freaks of nature, forecasting where and when they will strike, deliberately triggering them with explosives, teaching potential victims how to stay alive, and leading rescue efforts when tragedy strikes.

Having spent decades trying to keep avalanches and people apart, Fredston brings them together unforgettably in Snowstruck. From a rare store of personal experience, she conveys a panorama of perspectives: a skier making what may prove his final decision, a victim buried so tightly that he can't move a finger, rescuers racing both time and weather, forecasters treading the line between reasonable risk and danger. Seamlessly interweaving these accounts, Fredston brings to life the awesome forces of nature that can turn the mountains deadly-and the equally inexorable forces of human nature that lure us time and again into treacherous terrain.

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Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 2005, 0-15-101249-0

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"Avalanches, as Jill Fredston makes vividly clear in Snowstruck, have their own lore, and they can chill even those of us far removed from their deadly trajectories."—The New York Times Book Review

Jill Fredston stalks avalanches. She predicts where and when they will strike, deliberately triggers them with explosives, teaches potential victims how to stay alive, and leads rescue efforts when tragedy strikes. Reaching deep into this trove of personal experience, Fredston captures the overwhelming force of avalanches from a panorama of perspectives: a skier making what may prove his final decision, a victim buried so tightly that he can't move a finger, rescuers racing time and weather, forecasters treading the line between reasonable risk and danger. Sweeping us into these stories, she also captures the mercurial fascination of snow itself, which first drew her to Alaska and then led her to the man who would become her lifelong partner in love and work.
"Gripping . . . while her thrilling, sometimes tragic, accounts of victims and rescuers alike keep the pages flying by, it's Fredston's larger preoccupation with humanity's need to flirt with danger that gives the book its overarching grandeur and heft."—Elle.com

"[Fredston] is so adamant and impassioned a seer that we read on, grateful to look through her eyes."—San Francisco Chronicle
JILL FREDSTON is the author of Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic’s Edge, which won the 2002 National Outdoor Book Award for Literature. She and her husband, Doug Fesler, codirect the Alaska Mountain Safety Center and cowrote the authoritative Snow Sense: A Guide to Evaluating Snow Avalanche Hazard. They live in the mountains above Anchorage.

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