Words to Live By, According to a Ski Writer

An interview with Peter Kray, the author of The God of Skiing

This story originally published in the December 2015 issue of POWDER (44.4). PHOTO: Michael Clark

Name: Peter Kray
Age: 48
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Occupation: Author/Journalist
Roots: A Denver, Colorado, native, Peter Kray attributes his ski-writing career to his father. In the evenings, Glenn Kray, a volunteer ski patroller at Vail, read Shakespeare and Jack London as bedtime stories, laying a strong literary foundation for his children. Over the course of nearly a 20-year career, from The Mountain Gazette and GearInstitute.com, to bylines in outdoor magazines, including Powder, and ultimately his 2014 novel, The God of Skiing, a love letter to modern ski town living, Kray made his reputation as a no-bullshit, eloquent ski writer.

The greatest skiers I meet are lifetime students of the sport. I love that about them. Learn how to read mountains. Learn about other people’s technique.

Don’t sleep while traveling. Enjoy the adventure while you’re having it.

I love poetic language,
but you have to make a point. Don’t be afraid to make a point.

Our business is about escapism and freedom and being true to yourself. Write what you want to read. Writers should be excited about seeing their byline and wanting to read their own story and to see how it looks when it finally gets into a magazine.

There were people writing mean things to me
at The Mountain Gazette. If someone takes the time to tell you they hate you, you stirred something. When you write something and put it out there, that piece has a life of its own.

The best thing a reader can ever say is, “I read the whole thing.”

The hard truth of living in a ski town is you’re never going to get out. You’ll think you need to make money. You’ll think you need to buy a condo. You’ll think once you have those things you’ll really be able to enjoy it to its fullest. But once you have those things you’ll find those early years are the hardest things to get back.

My dad thought I should work at a paper. I thought working for a newspaper would “ruin me as a poet writer” type of bullshit. Dad was right. Writing every day, having a story every day…you get better.

Skiers need to write. Why aren’t there more ski books? Sit down and write it. Man, everybody should do that. We can share these stories with each other.

If you’re thinking about moving to a ski town, bring skis, a notepad, and warm gloves. You’ll be good. The best advice I could give someone moving to a ski town is enjoy it. Understand how good you’ve got it.