If you come to explore the vast winter playground known as Utah you might easily be overwhelmed. "Utah: The Complete Ski & Snowboard Guide" by local Michael Fine mines the essence of each ski area with insider tips on the best spots to try, the vibe on the hill, and even where to park on busy days. It's a handy book for any rider.

Fine is a long-time resident and avid skier so you can trust his authority. The Guide is a bit on the general side for anyone with a season pass to a particular resort, but if you are from out of town or are a local who wants to roadtrip to a hill you haven't tried, this book is a valuable addition to your library.

Fine also addresses other winter sports in Utah like Alpine, Nordic, and Telemark skiing in this well-organized, photo-filled book of personal recommendations. Despite the lack of intelligent prose (you read a lot of grade-schoolish sentences like  "simply follow the traverses and define your pitch by simply looking down" and "Steeps are really steep"), all the information necessary to make the most of your excursion is in there.  

Fine leaves no resort unplucked.  From Alta Ski Resort to the Wolf Creek Resort in Eden, he breaks the terrain down by type (powder, bumps, trees/steeps, cruisers), and by levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert, and snowboarding) and adds tips on dining, lodging, and anything else that might be noteworthy about a ski area. It even debunks common Utah questions like can you get a drink and is everyone Mormon?

"Utah: The Complete Ski & Snowboard Guide," published by The Countryman Press, retails for $19.95.

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