It's tempting to write off extreme skiers as a bunch of adrenaline junkies who get their kicks soaring off cliffs and dodging avalanches in terrain where one slip means certain death. But Utah author, filmmaker, and former pro skier Bill Kerig paints a very different picture. His new book, The Edge of Never, is not only a ripping adventure tale about a young Kye Petersen coming of age, but a frank and subtle portrait of the highly skilled and courageous adventurers who "live big" in the face of death and risk everything to experience the fullness of life in the mountains.
The story is centers on Kye, whose father, Trevor Petersen-one of the most famous skiers of his day-was killed in an avalanche in the French Alps in 1996. Nearly a decade later, 15-year-old Kye travels to France to ski the run that took his father's life and, with the aid of some of the world's greatest ski mountaineers, to become a member of skiing's big-mountain tribe. Kye's story was part of Bill's intention to create a documentary about the soul of big-mountain skiing which was sold to Peter Jennings' production company to become "STEEP."
This "raging good read [is] as thrilling as anything [Alfred] Lansing or [Jon] Krakauer has written," reports Betsy Burton, owner of The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah. "In the end, The Edge of Never takes us beyond mountains, beyond snow and ice and danger and into the heart of family."
Amazon.com Reviewer Joan Rostad describes it like this: "Although death plays a prominent role in The Edge of Never, the reader gains an understanding of life, and how the men and women who play those stakes do it not because they love death but because they love life and won't let the fear overcome their faith."
Kerig writes early in the book, in the chapter called A Madman's Scheme about coming up with the concept for the film, a passage that perfectly explains why Trevor would do it, and why Kye (and Bill) would too:
"...as a skier I know that taking control requires moving toward the thing you most fear. On very steep terrain, everything in your being screams, Back off! Get away from the edge! But you learn to ignore those voices and move toward the emptiness because if you lean away from the void and into the slope, your ski bases tilt and you lose your edge--the only thing holding you to the hill. Lose your edge at the wrong moment, and it could be the last thing you ever do. Control comes from squaring your shoulders, reaching out and planting your pole down the hill, and moving with complete conviction toward the abyss.
"It's a thrilling, counterintuitive, high-stakes dance, and it's become my one enduring faith."
Sounds like a good read while you wait for your plane at Salt Lake International. Bill is offering a holiday special: order The Edge of Never online from his Web site and he will sign and write a customized gift message on every copy.