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The 12 Books of Christmas


The snow shovels and boots have been unearthed from the garage, staff parties are booked, and yes, those are Christmas decorations on display at big box stores. The holiday season is upon us. While most people have at least begun their Christmas shopping at this point, we're going to suggest that rather than revert to the standard, safe go-to gift certificates for folks on your shopping list, you buy them a book. Remember those relics? They can make very thoughtful and relatively inexpensive gifts for just about anyone. This year, we've compiled a list of 12 recent literary releases from local writers that will entertain and intrigue kids, adventurers, aspiring chefs, sports enthusiasts and amateur historians. Happy reading!


The Whistler Book: An All-Season Outdoor Guide

By Jack Christie, 256 pp, Greystone Books, $24.95


Jack Christie has been dubbed "Mr. B.C." by the Toronto Sun and a quick glance through the latest edition of his venerable guidebook, The Whistler Book , proves that this trusted travel writer has earned his title. Christie has been exploring the Sea to Sky corridor for years, and it shows within the pages of this comprehensive all-season outdoor guidebook.

Anyone who lives here knows that Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton offer up just about every outdoor adventure: skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice climbing and cross country skiing in the winter months, and hiking, rock climbing, fishing, swimming, mountain biking and camping in the summer.

"If you can't enjoy yourself in Whistler, you're dead and you don't know it. For Whistler, like Mecca, is one of those fabled places, and one to which adventurers flock year-round to indulge in the invigorating powers of the great outdoors."

Amen! This is one of those books that's sure to inspire the reader to get off their butt and go explore. Chock-full of valuable insider information, detailed trail maps and beautiful photographs of the region, this book holds appeal for newbie visitors and even the most seasoned local, who may still have a few things to learn about this landscape. Christie has included updated sections on the 2010 Olympic venues, like the Callaghan Valley, Whistler's mountain bike trails, Whistler Blackcomb's brand-spankin' new Peak 2 Peak Gondola, the revamped Squamish waterfront area and the new multiuse Sea to Sky Trail, which will one day stretch from Horseshoe Bay to D'Arcy.

He's broken a vast amount of info up in a manageable, logical way: there are sections on Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, with chapters on a variety of highlights, like Squamish's Alice, Cat and Brohm lakes, Whistler's River of Golden Dreams and Singing Pass, and Pemberton's bike routes. Plus, there's an index of all the maps contained within, which makes for easy reference for any and all explorers. A great pick for anyone who is looking to delve (deeper) into the Sea to Sky's great outdoors.

- Reviewed by Holly Fraughton


Whistler Hiking Guide

by Brian Finestone & Kevin Hodder, 192 pp. Quickdraw Publications 2009, $26


Growing up in a household with a non-driving mother, I became acquainted with the whole "two feet and a heartbeat" expression at a fairly young age. And though I was sure to run out and get my license as soon as I turned 16, my childhood as a pedestrian left me with a lasting appreciation for the fine art of walking; there's nothing quite as therapeutic as putting on some running shoes and going for a wander outside.

Of course, here in Whistler, everything's a bit more extreme, so my meanderings around the city tend to pale in comparison with the heart-pounding hiking trails that wind their way throughout the Sea to Sky region.

To help people navigate our many trails, Brian Finestone and Kevin Hodder have developed a great, easy-to-use pocket-sized hiking guide loaded with handy-dandy icons, maps and tips to make sure your local hiking experiences are worry-free and fun.

These guys have included a huge range of trails in this book - 38 in total - something for beginners to advanced hikers, and every level in between. They've listed the 1.4 kilometre route around Beaver Lake above the Stonebridge subdivision, a mere stroll in comparison to the 27.8 kilometre seven-hour hike up Singing Pass and Russet Lake via the Musical Bumps route, and provided all the necessary info to help you prepare for the trip.

They give an estimated time for each hike, identify whether it's a loop trail or a return route, and what you may encounter along the way (dogs, bikers, pretty wildflowers), all via an easy-to-understand icon system. Plus, they've thrown in an elevation graph for each hike to help choose an appropriate level of difficulty.

Designed for locals and visitors alike, Whistler Hiking Guide would make a perfect stocking stuffer for the outdoor adventurer on your list.

- Reviewed by Holly Fraughton



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