Endless Winter by Luke Bodensteiner, Momentum: Chasing the Olypmic Dream by Pete Vordenberg , Long Distance by Bill McKibben, and A Medal of Honor by John Morton are sort of cut from the same cloth. These books offer a behind the scenes glimpse at the journey of Olympic CC skiers, capturing the spirit of the sport so few understand. These books are about testing limits, conquering the lonely pursuit, and toiling often in isolation to overcome personal challenges and doubt. I'm fairly partial to Bodensteiner and read his book years ago, probably because he's from West Bend, Wisconsin (where I currently live) and his dad was a great family doctor that made sure I healthily declined into middle age! Luke is currently the Executive Vice President of Athletics for the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA). And in case you haven't been paying attention, are primed to do some big things in the coming years.
Wild Shot by Andy Liebner One winter while watching the Olympics, my son said to me, "Dad, I don't get how anyone came up with the idea of skiing on trails with a gun and stopping to shoot at things."
Good question, son. Wild Shot is about the physical demands of CC skiing and the rather odd biathlon. The book is an solid discussion about the usual rigors of competition and takes you through Liebner's life, which actually has some interesting twists and turns.
Beyond Birkie Fever by Walter Rhein covers America's greatest cross-country ski race in the American Birkebeiner.( or "Birkie" for short) Every year, thousands of people journey from all over the globe to Hayward, Wisconsin, for a world-class celebration of life, winter, and the competitive spirit. Elite international competitors and future American Olympians meet in a wild race through the great Wisconsin Northwoods wilderness. It is a treasure of an event and one that's on every skiing midwesterner's bucket list!
These books definitely belong in a public or school library that serves a snowy population. I can't tell you how important it is to have sports like cc skiing represented in a library collection. It's our job to provide a spark and open doors to experiences readers don't know exist. Books provide inspiration.