Local writer Laura Lieff pens first book about pro snowboarder Brian “Wookie” Fleming
“Wookie Is Not His Real Name”
Some stories simply must be told, and local writer Laura Lieff knew that the legend of Brian “Wookie” Fleming was one of them. During the summer of 2014, she began writing about Wookie because she was inspired by the massive outpouring of support he received when his season pass was suspended for creating and hosting the most notorious invite-only snowboard event in Colorado history. But there is much more to his story than snowboarding and Lieff, a former newspaper editor who runs her own writing, editing and PR business called Lieff Ink, was ready to tell it.
“Everyone likes a comeback story and Wookie is the ultimate comeback kid,” Lieff said. “He’s also a 25-year Vail Valley resident, a Beaver Creek staple and a person who a lot of people know in a variety of capacities, but they don’t know the whole narrative. As a longtime journalist, I’m in the business of telling real life stories and this is a good one.”
Published in February, “Wookie Is Not His Real Name” provides a comprehensive look into snowboard culture through the eyes of a local legend and his community. The biography also illuminates how the life-altering circumstances of a professional athlete were handled with heart and humor.
Following a career-ending injury, after which he was told he would never walk again, Wookie endured severe physical, mental and emotional lows that changed the trajectory of his life. Exemplifying his strength and determination, he pushed through to make it back on his feet and back on a board.
“My goal with this book was to demonstrate how far Wookie has come and how he clawed his way back to the top with courage, grace and a lot of heart,” Lieff said. “The biography also shows that even with all the press and praise he’s received throughout the years for snowboarding, and his overall outdoorsmanship, being a father is his greatest achievement.”
A full-time Vail Valley resident since 2013, Lieff is also a writing tutor at Colorado Mountain College and a college essay consultant at Vail Mountain School. On Friday nights, she hosts a radio show called Bite the Bullet on 107.9 Radio Free Minturn.
On Saturday, March 20, from noon to 2 p.m., both Lieff and Wookie will be at The Bookworm of Edwards, located at 295 Main Street in The Riverwalk in Edwards, for a casual meet and greet to sign books and talk with customers.
“Wookie Is Not His Real Name” can be found at The Bookworm, at several local retail locations in the Vail Valley and at bookstores throughout Colorado. For more information on how to purchase the book online, and for the list of retailers and bookstores, visit lauralieff.com/book/.