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Book review: Utah extreme skier writes on making friends with fear

"The Art of Fear" is by Kristen Ulmer.
"The Art of Fear" is by Kristen Ulmer.

"THE ART OF FEAR: Why Conquering Fear Won't Work and What to Do Instead," by Kristen Ulmer, HarperCollins, $26.99, 320 pages (nf)

“The Art of Fear: Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What to Do Instead,” by Salt Lake City resident Kristen Ulmer, explores fear — how to identify its presence and make it an ally instead of a foe.

The word fear might seem an oxymoron to associate with someone who performed seemingly fearless feats as the best female big mountain extreme skier in the world for 12 years. Yet Ulmer writes that her addiction to fear is what drove her to take the risks that led her to become a top professional athlete.

Her personal journey to learn what to do with fear eventually led her to study with Zen masters. Based on insights gained from this study, Ulmer uses examples from her own encounters with fear to make her points, along with experiences with clients she has assisted as a Zen mindset facilitator for more than 15 years.

Divided into four sections, the book begins by defining what fear is and goes on to offer ways to identify fear’s presence and what to do with it. According to Ulmer, it’s not the fear that causes problems but misguided reactions to it.

Although well-written, the book is not a quick read. Ulmer’s use of personal stories, quotations and short illustrative stories scattered throughout the text, along with occasional humorous asides, offer a pleasant break from the otherwise thought-provoking ideas the author presents. The book offers much to mindfully consider and contemplate.

"The Art of Fear" contains no graphic violence or explicit sex, but commonly used profanity is sprinkled throughout the text.

If you go …

What: Kristen Ulmer book signing

When: Thursday, June 8, 5:30 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East


Note: The signing line is for those who buy a copy of the featured book from The King’s English.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street in Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at