There's no doubt that skiing's cutting edge has reached a sort of frothy, frenzied head: inverted cliff drops, backward aerial maneuvers, no-turn descents of 50-degree slopes¿it's all rather insane. But captured on film by a crew as inspired and cinematography-minded as the Matchstick boys, it's also quite beautiful. "Ski Film of the Year"? We're tempted. 970-349-0860; www.mspfilms.com
HIGHER ON THE MOUNTAIN
Straight Up Films
The new DesLauriers brothers' movie captures, with the earnestness of a PBS documentary, the unique styles of a handful of athletes on big, remote mountains. Inspiring ski footage, particularly of Scot Schmidt, and a sequence of the late Alex Lowe gleefully leading an ice climb and skiing a 55-degree Montana couloir are highlights. 877-669-7422; www.straightupfilms.com
Teton Gravity Research
TGR's new flick will remind you of every reason you ever strapped on a pair of boards. The Realm addresses several primal urges: Alaskan powder, first descents, fast-and-furious blasts through places you've always wished you could ski. When your legs stop twitching with envy, you'll know the movie's over. 307-734-8192; www.tetongravity.com
By Michael Finkel
Finkel's wit and passion spice his offbeat adventures: surviving the world's highest lift in Peru, avoiding serious injury on a dry ski slope in Scotland, training for winter warfare in the Sierra, introducing herdsmen to modern technique in China. We recommend Circus highly, of course: All but one of its 17 stories have appeared previously in Skiing. The Lyons Press, 212-620-9580.
SKIING FOR DUMMIES
By Allen St. John
Like the other "Dummies" books, this is a reference book aimed primarily at novices but packed with practical information for anyone, all of it presented in short, digestible chunks. St. John, a Skiing contributing editor, packages the info with his typical wry humor. Give it as a gift to a beginner or just keep it around as a reference. IDG Books Worldwide, 800-762-2974.
By Claire Walter
Contrary to popular belief, there's more to do in Colorado than just ski. Snowshoeing, in particular, has taken off of late. With easy-to-follow maps and trail descriptions, Skiing contributing editor Claire Walter offers the uninitiated as well as the snowshoe fanatic a view of the state you'll never see from the liftline. Fulcrum Publishing, 800-992-2908.