The Good Skiing and Snowboarding Guide 2000
has pedigree written all over it. And so it should, coming recommended by the Ski Club of Great Britain, an association that's been active since 1903. The guide itself has been around since 1985 and upgraded constantly over the last 15 years, now covering almost 600 resorts worldwide.
The guide starts with a concise "at-a-glance" listings section called "Simply the Best". In this section resorts are listed under the headings Beginners, Intermediates and Experts, mirroring the recognised piste categories. Other heading such as Moguls, Eating Out and Après Ski, guide users to resorts based on more obscure criteria. Each heading has around 10 resorts listed below it, allowing the user to see immediately whether the one they have in mind is right for their needs. Very useful.
The rest of the guide moves from country to country offering a dedicated section to each resort with a full piste map and in-depth information on what you should expect to pay for everything from ski tuition to childcare. It also supplies you with information on transfers from the nearest airport and distance from the nearest port of entry. You may not find out anything new about your favourite, most frequently visited resort, but you will be able to find out if places you haven't yet visited have the kind of facilities you need.
Where the guide seems to fall down slightly is in its assumption that skiers and snowboarders are looking for the same thing. Practitioners from either of these camps will tell you that they are a world apart and this cultural difference isn't represented. Skiers may want a cosy wine bar, but many snowboarders will be looking at the pedigree of the DJs playing in the local clubs. The book fails completely to adopt or represent the mindset of snowboarders and seems a little cynical tacking on the word "snowboard" to the book title, thinking: "well, that's them lot catered for!" At the end of the day it boils down to a lot more than how many pieces of wood you decide to strap to your feet!
That said, both skier and snowboarder should find the concise nature of the information and the friendly, generally unbiased tone of the book a useful tool for planning their trip. --Tony Martin