Monday, 25 April 2011

Snow Vandals

Help us welcome James Kellogg, author of E-Force, a thriller that releases from Wild Child Publishing May 10th. While this view may not be popular to snowboarders, being an alpine skier, I can completely relate. (grin)

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Another Rocky Mountain winter is retreating under the onslaught of Spring. I've strapped on the skis, Telemark and Alpine, for the last time until November. It's been an epic season. Ripping turns through bumps, carving first tracks in powder, catching all rocked! Memories will be etched in my brain long after the last patch of snow gives way to wildflowers and mountainbike trails. I recall powder-choked steeps, monster mogul fields, wind-blown cornices...and snowboarder punks.

The image of one particular crisp Colorado morning suddenly hijacks my thoughts. I see mountains draped in a blanket of snow after a big overnight blizzard. The clouds had blown out and the slopes glistened like fields of diamonds under the rising sun. Not a single cloud blemished the azure blue sky when I hopped an early chair up the mountain that day. I was en route to powder extraordinaire!

My anticipation rose as the lift climbed higher. Like an eagle, I soared closer to upper Primo. It's studded with beautiful moguls. From a distance the ski run resembles the dimpled surface of a golf ball. Gliding closer, I admired the champagne powder coating the bumps like frosting. It looked so sweet. In minutes, I would be picking a line and dropping in on my descent.

In an awful instant, my heart sank. A half-dozen twenty-somethings in baggy pants and audacious-colored jackets came into view at the top of the run. They were lounging on their butts, a universal behavioral trait of snowboarders. It had to be a mirage. I rubbed my eyes, but couldn't erase the dreaded snowboards fastened to their moon boots. No!!

I felt like I was watching a passenger train hurtling toward a bus stalled on the tracks. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I watched in horror as the snowboarder punks rose and peered down the slope. Riding a fluorescent green board and dressed in loud plaid, the first one slid off the precipice and careened into my mogul paradise.

Neglecting to take a winding line between the bumps, the snow vandal turned his gaudy board sideways like a snowplow. He plummeted straight downward. The edge of the board had the effect of a razor blade on facial stubble. "Turn through the bumps! Turn!" I hollered as they pass below my dangling skis. Flipping me his middle finger, the punk and his unskilled minions scraped downhill with uncaring abandon. It was as devastating as strip mining. The beautiful mogul run was ravaged.

Despite the disappointment, I managed to find a few unspoiled powder stashes to salvage the morning. At lunchtime I cruised back down to the lodge. Much to my dismay, it was nearly impossible to walk in the vicinity of the ski racks. The area was littered with snowboards, one of them fluorescent green. The snowboarder punks leave them at whatever spot they happen to disconnect boots from bindings. I remember eyeing the empty spaces in the ski racks. That day I had enough.

Without another thought, I grabbed an armful of boards, including the blinding green one, and trudged toward the end of the deck. Another skier nodded approval and joined me in the endeavor. We dumped the boards behind a heap of snow and gave each other knuckles. "That'll keep from tearing up terrain for a little bit," I declared to my vigilante comrade.

Not long afterward, I relaxed at one of the tables on the deck. Can't beat brown-bagging it outside in the sun. My shoulders slumped when snowboarders besieged the table next to me. Immediately my gaze fell upon the kid in the loud plaid suit. The fallout from those guys was inescapable.

While I wolfed down the last bites of a sandwich, the inane conversation of the snowboarder punks invaded my ears. Uttering tirades of four-letter words, they were like gangster rappers who couldn't rap. Stupidity is often contagious. I remember being cognizant of becoming dumber with each second I was within earshot of that clan.

I was just about to flee when a guy walked up and asked if one of these youths had lost a driver's license. Intrigued, I observed the plaid kid's blank expression. He was like a cow staring out from a stockyard.

"Is there a name on the license?" a more articulate member of the group asked.

"Oddly enough, there is a name on it," the Samaritan responded. "It's Edward."

That animated the cow-eyed, plaid kid. "My name is Ed."

"Check your pockets," I chimed in with a suggestion.

The kid patted his legs like his pants were on fire. "Oh, my God! There's a hole in my pocket!"

"Is there a birthday on it?" another punk spoke up, clearly hoping to score a fake ID.

"Of course there's a birthday on it," I scoffed. "The question is, when's Mr. Ed's birthday?"

After some thought, Ed recited the date. It didn't come easy.

"You're a winner," the Samaritan declared. "Here's your license, Ed."

"Now I've got to go find my wallet!" Poor plaid Ed looked like his head was going to twist off his neck. "We've got to get back up there."

The gang of snow vandals charged off like a bunch of keystone cops in wacky outfits. It wasn't long before the first curses drifted my way. They'd obviously discovered their haphazardly discarded boards were missing.

A smile crept across my face. Bad Karma, dudes. That sucks.

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Colt Kelley, a disillusioned employee of an environmental organization in Aspen, finds his life shifting into high gear when he stumbles into an unexpected romance with a beautiful woman with a turbid past. But the newfound bliss is obliterated by E-Force, a clandestine group of militant radicals engaged in an escalating campaign of destruction against the Colorado assets of AmeResort Corporation. A dark conspiracy lurking below the eco-terrorist facade thrusts Colt into the crosshairs of law enforcement and a lethal network of merciless thugs and corrupt cops. Pressed into a race against time and ruthless evil, Colt must stop E-Force from hurtling toward an unthinkable act of terror. The fate of the nation hangs in the balance.

Genre: Thriller
Book Length: Plus Novel
Word Count: 100,000
Pages: 375
Price: $6.99

Pre-purchase the book here.


Anthology Authors said...

I laughed really hard with this one. I remember when snow boards first came out. Only punks rode them. I know a few adults who ride them, but I'm still a bit of a snob. I haven't skied in 15 years, but I remember how little etiquette they had, cutting you off, etc. I guess it hasn't changed much.

I guess manners are dead in a lot of areas. :(

jameskellogg said...

Yes, it often seems that all respect is gone. Then a random act of kindnes by a boarder helps reafirm my faith. Of course, that doesn't mean they should be on the bump runs. :)

Anthology Authors said...

It's possible. (g) Of course, I've seen alpine skiers act rudely as well. It seems that you see fewer and fewer alpine skiers on the slopes. Snowboarding is much easier.

I know there have been times when I've shaved off the tops of moguls, but I try to find that line. It's been so long since I've skied, I'd probably be that skier clinging to the side of the cliff. (g)

jameskellogg said...

You just need a little free-heel Telemark action to set your spirit free! You're right though. Skier's can be jerks too. If only human nature wasn't so strong. :)

Jeff LoSsOfReAliTy Gonsalves said...

Hilarious post, James. Being a snowboarder myself (but not a very good one), I try to observe the rules of the slopes. But like any sport, there's always a group of thug-lings who ruin the fun for everyone. When I play basketball, I can always tell who the worst players are because they dress the best!
--Jeff Gonsalves

Maggi Andersen said...

"Gangster rappers who can't rap." I had a good laugh, James.

The Unknown Author said...

I've never skied or snowboarded, but I was still one of those kids once. I hope one day to forget that era.

jameskellogg said...

We've all fallen victim to the ignorance, er, uhh,...innocence of youth, right? I know I'd like to have a few mulligans. :)