All mountain sports require that people get out of their comfort zones a little bit. It takes a special breed of person to make snowboarding their passion. One reason for taking to the mountains is for the stories. Every snowboarder has at least a couple. They might be about great runs, or about overcoming dangerous obstacles. One of the best ways to learn about the sport and appreciate all aspects of it is through books.

There are plenty of great books about taking on the mountains. These include guides like Fifty Places to Ski and Snowboard Before You Die. This book features recommendations for great runs all around the world. North American mountains in places like Aspen and Steamboat Springs make the cut. So do Chamonix in France and Rusutsu in Japan. This is a guide for the whole world, and it gives people of all skill levels something to look forward to.

Freedom Found is the self-told story of Warren Miller. Miller made some of the first sports action movies. Starting in the 1940s, he reliably churned out films every year. He even provided voice-over narration for them. Warren Miller proved that there was an appetite among the public for ski action movies. He’s one of the great originals who helped to grow interested in mountain sports. In this book, his personality and inventiveness come through.

Other books are focused on building skills or awareness. Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper is a compendium of some of the most up-to-date information about snow safety. It includes information about how to evaluate the snow. This means that snowboarders can be empowered when they’re on the mountain. This is especially important for people who are boarding in the backcountry, and not on well-maintained resort trails. Another great guide by Tremper is Avalanche Essentials.

Finally, books like Higher Love by Kit DesLauriers are full of great stories of accomplishment. Though she’s a skier, not a snowboarder, DesLauriers’ account of conquering mountains like Denali and Everest are definitely inspiring to athletes of all kinds. It’s not just the descents, either. Even just climbing those mountains is an incredible feats all by itself.