Adult Books: In the Path of an Avalanche

In the Path of an Avalanche book cover
In the Path of an Avalanche
, Greystone Books, 2003

Sample Writing

Finalist: Banff Mountain Book Festival, Mountain literature award
Finalist: Independent Publisher Book Award, Environment/Ecology/Nature

About the book:

On a clear, cold morning in January 1998, a heavily loaded snow slope in the Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia let loose, causing a massive avalanche. Caught in the freight train of moving snow were six experienced backcountry skiers. They didn't have a chance.

Interweaving narrative and science, author Vivien Bowers tells the gripping story of a deadly avalanche and its aftermath: the complex process of avalanche prediction, the arduous search-and-retrieval effort, the big-city media invasion, and the attempts by family members, friends and the inhabitants of a nearby small town to bring meaning and resolution to the tragedy. Her book captures the glorious allure of the backcountry, but it also raises unsettling questions about acceptable risk, about human fallibility, about living fully and dying young-and about what might entice a group of knowledgeable skiers to place themselves in the path of an avalanche.

What the critics say about In the Path of an Avalanche:

The lessons and insights from Vivien Bowers's meticulously researched and gracefully written anatomy of an avalanche are invaluable.
Peter Stark, author of Last Breath: The Limits of Adventure

Vivien Bowers gives a rare look inside the world of avalanches and the community of people who live and work around them. She not only tells a tragic, but important, story, she does it with the authority of someone who understands the science of avalanches as well as the avalanche culture of small mountain towns.
Bruce Tremper, Director, Utah Avalanche Center and author of Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain

Bowers's vivid descriptive prose captures the full fury of the avalanche and the sad aftermath. Nonskiers will learn much from this book, as will risk takers.
Publisher's Weekly

This is a can't-put-it-down type of read as Bowers reconstructs a backcountry skiing trip gone wrong … a timely book and a must-read for anyone wanting a closer look at one of Mother Nature's most impressive acts
Ski Canada

The book's a bit of a paradox-a fascinating paradox. It's suspenseful, which is no small trick considering the outcome is well known. It's educational without being pedantic, preachy or insufferably dull. It's multidisciplinary in its attempt to explain what happened, how it might have happened and even takes a crack at shedding light on why it happened….exactly the kind of book you want to hunker down with while awaiting the new season's snowfall.
Pique newsmagazine, Whistler, Canada

Seamlessly weaving scientific information and narrative, Kootenay-based author Vivien Bowers poignantly, sensitively and intelligently tells the tragic tale of six experienced back-country skiers who lost their lives five years ago in an avalanche….
As a story, a reference and a reminder, In the Path of an Avalanche is an important book to read.
Express, Nelson, Canada