Norman Ollestad's CRAZY FOR THE STORM: A Memoir of Survival



From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill
skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. While his friends were riding bikes, playing ball, and going to birthday parties, young Norman was whisked away in pursuit of wild and demanding adventures. Yet it were these exhilarating tests of skill that prepared Boy Wonder, as his father called him, to become a fearless champion—and ultimately saved his life.

Flying to a ski championship ceremony in February 1979, the chartered Cessna carrying Norman, his father, his fathers girlfriend, and the pilot crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains and was suspended at 8,200 feet, engulfed in a blizzard. Dad and I were a team, and he was Superman, Ollestad writes. But now Normans father was dead, and the devastated eleven-year-old had to descend the treacherous, icy mountain alone.

Set amid the spontaneous, uninhibited surf culture of Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, this riveting memoir, written in crisp Hemingwayesque prose, recalls Ollestads childhood and the magnetic man whose determination and love infuriated and inspired him—and also taught him to overcome the indomitable. As it illuminates the complicated bond between an extraordinary father and his son, Ollestads powerful and unforgettable true story offers remarkable insight for us all.


Date: September 10, 2020

12 thoughts on “Norman Ollestad's CRAZY FOR THE STORM: A Memoir of Survival

  1. Recently read the book and it was great. Seems like Norm Sr. did a great job as a dad in building a great relationship with his son and Norm Jr. built upon that into his own son. That's we need today, more Dads involved in their kids' lives this way.

  2. Saw his story from a film and had to learn more about him. It's great when two amazing pieces of art can converge and lead you down a rabbit hole of possiblities. Finding Joe was that for me, great doc.

  3. A tragic story well told. As a Father I truly appreciate the way Norman allows the past to be without judgment. Too often we judge yesterday by today's standards. Parenting was different a generation ago. Let it be. Thank you Norman.

  4. @deniseobx252
    if your family wouldn't be war crazy you wouldn't need these survival skills! – Same with little Ollestadt: Why was he in this plane flying in bad weather conditions first place, pilot not listening to the warnings on radio, why didn't his Dad protect him? I am a mother of three and I taught my son to not join the army, but other languages, nonviolantly communicate and being tolerant of other nations, supported him to think his own thoughts, feelings and not follow blindly others

  5. I heard Norman being interviewed on the radio, promoting his book. I was so engrossed in the story and the way he was telling it, I came home, got online to learn more. Haven't read the book, but it's on my list to purchase this weekend.
    Very excited about it!!

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