Randy Johnson Books


Southern Snow: The Winter Guide to Dixie

The “ground-breaking” early guide to downhill skiing, cross country skiing, and winter hiking in the South is still available with plans for a new edition.

“Southern Snow is a bonafide cult classic.”
—Warren Miller, ski film pioneer.

University of North Carolina Press editor-in-chief David Perry called Southern Snow “one of the best regional nonfiction titles out there.” The book is being expanded and updated for republication and with a little luck should be out sometime soon from UNC Press.

First published in 1986, the book was Randy’s first and “I put a lot of passion for winter sports into it,” he says. One of the reasons he moved to the Southern Appalachians to manage the backcountry of Grandfather Mountain through the 1980s and early 90s was his discovery of the Boone area during “a search for Southern snow. I loved the snow and cold and found myself heading to New Hampshire’s White Mountains for winter mountaineering, then becoming a cross country skier and searching the South for snowy peaks.”


Take a Cross Country Ski Lesson. Randy teaches the basic techniques in a video cross country lesson at Moses Cone Memorial Park in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Randy has taught hundreds of people to ski as a member of the Nordic Professional Ski Instructors of America. Tom McAuliffe reports.
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Cross country at Roan Mountain, North Carolina. Take a ski tour at Roan Mountain, one of the south’s best places to cross country ski. John Stubblefield’s WXII-TV news report depicts the early 1980s heyday of the Roan Mountain State Park Cross Country Ski Center.
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He found them, and the book led off with hefty, unexpected chapters on lesser-known topics such as “The History of Southern Skiing”—a history surprisingly contemporaneous with, and as rich as, the birth of the sport in snowier regions like New England. Who would have imagined that North Carolina’s Beech Mountain saw its earliest skiers in the 1930s! Southern Snow is the definitive text on the history of skiing south of New England. As the region’s expert on Southern ski history, Randy has known many of the region’s pioneers—the people, who, he has written, brought skiing south on the “dreams of true believers.”

The “Climate of the Southern Snow Belt” chapter tracked the white stuff all over the region to surprisingly New England-like depths. A reviewer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called the research “definitive” and “groundbreaking.”

One chapter covered driving in the snow, and others featured the state of downhill and cross-country skiing in the South, as well as winter hiking and mountaineering. Extensive state-by-state chapters directed readers to write-ups on the region’s downhill ski areas, cross country ski centers, and snowiest trails for hiking and Nordic skiing.

Want a copy of the “classic” old book now? It’s not too “out of date” from the standpoint of the history, climate, and general areas it recommends. Go to Amazon.com and search for Southern Snow—used and even new copies still seem to be available.

Randy’s winter programs for ski and outdoor clubs or shops often focus on “Southern Snow” topics and photography, so check out his list of appearances—or propose a photo presentation and book signing for your organization or ski/outdoor shop.

Beech Mountain, NC
Beech Mountain, NC
Blackwater Falls Lodge
Blackwater Falls Lodge, Canaan Valley, WV

Check out Randy’s Resource Page for more on winter recreation.


All photography copyrighted by Randy Johnson. Permission and credit required for reproduction or other use.
Contact Randy about his stock library of international travel, adventure, and Southern Appalachian photography.