THE GUIDEBOOK GUY: FRITZ SPERRY
TALKS ABOUT A LIFE SPENT DOCUMENTING LINES
Louise Lintilhac, the web and assistant editor of Backcountry Magazine interviewed Giterdun Publishing author Fritz Sperry. The interview ran on the website. Here’s an excerpt and some pics that were also published.
In the September issue of Backcountry Magazine, Devon O’Neil wrote about the backcountry skiing guidebook scene in North America. One of the writers covered was Fritz Sperry, who has been writing guidebooks about the Front Range of Colorado and other surrounding areas for decades.
Sperry lives a relatively nomadic existence but has resided in the greater Denver area for many years. For part of the season he calls his car home so that he can get to the trailhead without hassle and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Sperry, 45, has lived through the transitions from paperback to blog and straight skis to twin tip. To learn more about how the guidebook process has evolved over the years, we caught up with Sperry before he hits the road for the upcoming season. Here’s what he had to say
Backcountry Magazine: What is your underlying motivation for writing guidebooks?
Fritz Sperry: The reason I do it is because it is getting more crowded in the backcountry, and in places like Loveland Pass and Berthoud Pass, you see incidents of people interacting negatively with each other—people dropping in on each other. My whole goal is to reduce the density. That is why I am doing more than one guidebook.
But also, since there are so many newcomers to backcountry skiing, getting people to think about what is above them and beside them and below them is also really important. You wouldn’t see a climbing guidebook that omits the fact that there is a loose flake half way up the climb. It is the same thing to me with backcountry skiing. You should know, “At 1.2 miles in, you will be traveling under an avalanche slope.” Especially in Colorado where we have a lot of hard slab issues. Getting people to think about that is really important.
The year I wrote my first guidebook I lost 13 friends. Half of those were in the mountains and the others were in the music industry. That profoundly affects your life. I am always trying to get people to think about stuff…… Click the Backcountry Magazine Link for the rest of the article