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Monday, September 21, 2009
Updated: June 14, 6:43 PM ET
Book Review: Out West

"Out West" by Dano Pendygrasse is out now. Click the photo gallery link for a sneak peek.
The story of Canadian snowboarding is one best told by Canadian snowboarders, so who better than Dano Pendygrasse? In "Out West: Snowboarding, Westbeach and a New Canadian Dream", the well-known lensman and opinion-haver has done just that, and any hardcore shred fan should consider it required reading. (Click here for a sneak peek.)

You might know Dano for his photos gracing covers and gallery walls, but homeboy can write, too. "Out West" uses the highs and lows of the Westbeach brand as a lens, and reads like a chronologically-arranged guidebook to the strange culture that developed in Canada around snowboarding. And yes, to paraphrase Peter Line, it is a culture not a sport.

The book includes the stars, troublemakers, and brands (esp. Westbeach) that defined an era and dusts off candid photos that haven't seen the light of day until now. The "Whiskey" movies, Boozy the Clown, Kevin Young, the Westbeach Classic, Devun Walsh, Marc Morisset, Kevin Sansalone...they're all in here and slotted into the larger narrative as only someone who lived it can truly pull off. Pendygrasse has quite a memory: e.g. "If you claim to remember the early '90s in Whistler, you weren't really there, man!"

Ever wonder where Trouble came from? How about Shorty's Snowboards? Ross Rebagliati? Why "The Resistance" and "True Life" had so many Whistler backcountry shots in them? How those crazy French-Canadians figure into things? How Westbeach went from global snow brand to near-flatline to staging a triumphant return? What role Canadians have played in shaping this great sport of ours? You'll find answers to these pressing questions in "Out West" and nowhere else. At 120 pages, it's a surprisingly complete historical document and one that pulls no punches.

As the writer says in the intro: "This book is a look at people who, for some part of their lives, loved snowboarding more than anything else." In "Out West," Pendygrasse taps into a vitality at the core of snowboarding that seems to have faded in recent years, something akin to snowboarding's true identity—no matter where you come from—and teases it out in a way that's never been done before. In short, this ain't your typical coffee table book. And it's not just for Canadians.

Take care of your X-mas presents early for only $12.95. And don't forget to grab one for yourself.

Click here for a sneak peek of "Out West".

[Ed: Our very own Colin Whyte wrote a chapter in "Out West." All the more reason to peep it...]