"He was 11 years old, riding in a Cessna in a blizzard through California's San Gabriel Mountains in 1979, on his way to pick up a trophy he won in a skiing competition.
"The gray clouds were just pressing against the windows; it didn't even seem like we were moving," he recalls. "Then, there's a limb reaching out of that fog and disappearing. Then another one and another one.
"Then realizing we were in the trees."
The plane crash that followed killed his father and the pilot and badly wounded his father's girlfriend, who with young Norman was tossed violently onto the top of an 8,600-foot mountain in the freezing, February chill.
"I felt three thuds. The third one must have knocked me cold," says Ollestad, now 41. "I remember feeling those thuds in my spine -- a clear memory of that. Then I woke up who knows how long after."The ensuing nine-hour, life-or-death descent -- in the end, he was the only survivor -- is the topic of "Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival."