Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing at a very young age by the father he idolized. Often paralyzed by fear, young Norman resented losing his childhood to his father’s reckless and demanding adventures, even as he began to reap the rewards of his training.
Then, in February 1979, a chartered Cessna carrying 11-year old Norman, his father, his father’s girlfriend and the pilot, crashed into Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. Norman’s father -- a man who was both his coach and hero—was dead, his girlfriend soon to follow. Suspended at over 8,000 feet and engulfed in a blizzard, the grief-stricken boy descended the icy mountain alone. Putting his father’s passionate lessons to work, Norman defied the elements and made it through alive -- the sole survivor of the crash. As he told the Los Angeles Times after his ordeal, “My dad told me never to give up.”
Set in Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, Crazy for the Storm captures the bohemian surf culture of Southern California and a boy’s conflicted feelings for his magnetic, larger-than-life father. A compulsive, page-turning read, at times nostalgic and heart-wrenching, the story recounts the exhilarating tests of skill that prepared Norman to become a surfer and ski champion—the same skills that ultimately saved his life.