The Story of Modern Skiing

John Fry

This is the definitive history of the sport that has exhilarated and infatuated about 30 million Americans and Canadians over the course of the last fifty years. Consummate insider John Fry chronicles the rise of a ski culture and every aspect of the sport’s development, including the emergence of the mega-resort and advances in equipment, technique, instruction, and competition. The Story of Modern Skiing is laced with revelations from the author’s personal relationships with skiing greats such as triple Olympic gold medalists Toni Sailer and Jean-Claude Killy, double gold medalist and environmental champion Andrea Mead Lawrence, first women’s World Cup winner Nancy Greene, World Alpine champion Billy Kidd, Sarajevo gold and silver medalists Phil and Steve Mahre, and industry pioneers such as Vail founder Pete Seibert, metal ski designer Howard Head, and plastic boot inventor Bob Lange. Fry writes authoritatively of alpine skiing in North America and Europe, of Nordic skiing, and of newer variations in the sport: freestyle skiing, snowboarding, and extreme skiing. He looks closely at skiing’s relationship to the environment, its portrayal in the media, and its response to social and economic change. Maps locating major resorts, records of ski champions, and a timeline, bibliography, glossary, and index of names and places make this the definitive work on modern skiing. Skiers of all ages and abilities will revel in this lively tale of their sport’s heritage.

Paper: $24.95 | E-book: $19.95
ISBN-13: 9781584658962
Pages: 380 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: March 9, 2010


  • Fry notes that the direct work of his book consumed four years. The greater truth is that it is the result of more personal research spanning a lifetime, a degree of comprehension that comes only from having been there.

    Skiing Heritage
  • It's impressive how much Fry actually does pack into a volume that would fit in a skier's backpack along with a couple of sandwiches. Modern Skiing is full of helpful timelines, appendices and glossaries, along with ski trivia.

    Seven Days
    Burlington, VT
  • John Fry . . . has written a thorough and entertaining history of the sport's growth. Fry skillfully and vividly touches on what seems to be every aspect of skiing's growth.

    Vermont Life
  • Fry takes you through the advent of lifts and snowmaking, the glory days of freestyle, the ups and downs of ski racing, and what skiing has meant to life, the environment and the ecomony. Fry's love and deep understanding of the sport comes through page after page, and one picks up the book feeling like they're joining in a great conversation with a ski friend.

    Boston Herald
  • John Fry takes you behind the scenes of the sport of skiing, from the first 25 cents-a-day rope tow to the 72-dollar-a-day lift ticket at today’s mega-resorts. Fry has been there and written about how and why it all happened. His observations are a must-read book for anyone who has ever been on a pair of skis or a snowboard.

    Warren Miller
    skiing’s foremost filmmaker

About the Author

John Fry

John Fry (1930-2020) was the former editor-in-chief of SKI, America’s oldest ski magazine, and founding editor of the award-winning New York Times magazine Snow Country. His contributions to skiing include direct roles in launching the NASTAR (National Standard Ski Race) program, The Nations Cup of alpine ski racing, and the Graduated Length Method of teaching. Fry is a member of the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame and has received the International Skiing History …

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