Reading the north

White House of the North: Stories From the Alaska Governor's Mansion

By Carol M. Sturgulewski (Plaid Cabin Publishing, $25)

The blurb: The daughter of a former Alaska governor, Sturgulewski interviewed governors, first ladies and friends from every administration since 1925 for the second printing of this history of the Alaska governor's house. The stories are supplemented by more than 75 historic photos and documents.

Excerpt: "When the Governor's House opened its doors to the public on New Year's Day 1913, it was more than a house. It was a symbol.

"The territory of Alaska had been in U.S. hands for less than 50 years. With a population of about 64,000, the former Russian colony was often depicted as a mysterious, frozen and remote wasteland. Under-funded and often ignored, it was not a priority for Congress, or for the rest of the country. Alaskans got little respect, and they felt it keenly.

"But a governor's house -- a proper executive residence-- felt like progress."

The Alaska Factor: Backcountry Skiing in Southcentral Alaska

By Joe Stock (Stock Alpine, $20)

The blurb: This backcountry skiing guide offers tips and information for runs throughout the Chugach, Kenai, Talkeetna and Alaska ranges.

Excerpt: "Nude skiers, beer, sunsets, dogs and crud. It's the all-Anchorage apres-work ski scene. Peak Three is a solid run with fun mini-chutes through rocks at the top. If you have time, link up several gullies on the south side of Peak Three. The Peak Three bowl does avalanche occasionally, so give it a few days to stabilize if it's been snowing and blowing.

"Access Peak Three from the Rabbit Creek Trailhead. Duck under the gate at the far side of the parking lot and immediately cut left and go uphill on a skin trail. Continue up the creek into the bowl. Peak Three is up to the right."

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News