Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges

— Anselme Baud

Here's a gem worth finding: an Anselme Baud guidebook to backcountry skiing the French Alps, in English, featuring hundreds of classic backcountry skiing and randonnee routes, from easy to expert to far, far, beyond.

Followers of French extreme skiing will be enthralled with Baud's descriptions of routes like the Arete de Peuterey, or the Nant Blanc, which border on the ultimate difficulty rating: "abominable difficile." And don't miss—in his own words, with illustrations—Baud describing the turn he and Patrick Vallencant developed that enabled them to descend Chamonix's ultra-steep couloirs.

Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges - Anselme Baud

Extreme pursuits, however, make up only a portion of this book's formidable listings. Baud gives us tours of all difficulty to play with. Think of it as your all-access pass to the French Alps.

If that's not enough to entice you, the book is also well-populated with color photos (admitedly on the small side), with route plots superimposed to eliminate ambiguity.

Unfortunately, there is a catch: the book is apparently no longer in print, and given its obvious desireability, if you find a copy you're going to have to pay a premium for it.

Also worth tracking down is any copy you can find of Anselm Baud's other skiing book, Les Alpes Du Nord A Skis. That one is in French, but like this one, it's a must-have for anyone interested in the big lines of the French Alps—and the pioneers who first skied them.

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