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The Edge of Never

A new book looks at ski mountaineering and the Petersen family saga.
posted: 08/06/2008

In 2005, Kye Petersen traveled to Chamonix to ski a 50-degree couloir on the Rond Glacier. It was the same line that killed his father—famed ski mountaineer Trevor Petersen—nine years earlier. Kye's mother, Tanya, was nervous, but the 15-year-old wasn't alone. Glen Plake, a friend of his late father's, was there helping him on the descent, along with Mike Hattrup. Also on the trip were a film crew and William A. Kerig, who writes about the expedition in his new book, The Edge of Never (Stone Creek Publications).

Kerig initially orchestrated the trip to Chamonix as a scene for the ski documentary Steep, but he was eventually bumped from the project and footage of Kye was cut. Now, in The Edge of Never, Kerig writes about the bonds between skiers, fatherhood (Kerig's son was born the night before he left for Chamonix), and his own ski ambitions. In some of the most interesting passages, Kerig examines his personal drive: A grown man convincing a 15-year-old to ski a deadly couloir, he's subjecting skiers to danger for his own benefit. But, he concludes, it's worth it to reveal "the soul of the sport," the familial bonds that form between passionate skiers.

While the potential for clichéd "So there I was…" adventure writing is great, Kerig avoids that pitfall with clear prose that delves into why skiers take such risks and why we feel compelled to document their stories.

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