Top 5: Outdoors-y books to hold you over till your next adventure

Sometimes, when you've got the itch to hit the slopes but for whatever reason (cash flow, injury, house arrest) aren't able to, you can buy yourself some sanity and read a sweet action outdoorsy book.

Yeah, it's not as good as the real thing, but it still curbs the craving. A little. Maybe.

Here are some favorites, in no particular order.

Into Thin Air, by John Krakauer An obvious choice, obviously. Perhaps the greatest play-by-play ever, Into the Wild is Krakauer's firsthand account of almost dying on Mt. Everest in the deadliest season the mountain has ever seen. It's raw, it's sad, it's by the same dude that brought you Into the Wild which, basically means it's badass.

The Beach, by Alex Garland. Aside from the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio and company completely butchered the film adaptation of this book beyond all recognition, The Beach is an all around kickass story. Who doesn't want to read about sex, drugs, crazy hippies, video games and Thai beaches while your freezing your ass off in the middle of our great state?

Terra Incognita, by Sarah Wheeler In case you haven't heard, seven women from around the world just completed a 38-day, nearly 600-mile trek to the South Pole (more on that kickass display of girl power here). So, it seems only fitting to include Sarah Wheeler's hysterical account of her time in the blustery bosom of Antarctica. If you think life on the continent is all about research and analysis, think again. In October, Westword writer Jonathan Shikes shed a light on the continent's current scandal involving isolated bloggers revealing their Antarctic antics and their frosty reception. Wheeler's book takes these tales a step further making Terra Incognita the perfect combination between Balto and Animal House on ice.

Downhill Slide, by Hal Clifford Downhill Slide does for skiers what Fast Food Nation did for chronic Big Mac lovers, delves into the complexities of the ski industry and sparing no one. Yeah, it sounds like a downer, but every now and then it's good to chew on some harsh reality. At the end of the day you'll still love riding, you'll just be more attuned to what's really happening in that little snow globe you frequent.

Instant Karma by Wayne K. Sheldrake If you're already lucky enough to be a tried-and-true ski bum, this book is most likely the epitome of your everyday life. But for the rest of us hacking away the day in windowless rooms beneath fluorescent death beams, Sheldrake's seriously entertaining account of life on the slopes provides a glimmer of insight into the lives of those living the dream.

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Whitney Van Cleave