SAR: Powderhounds by Heather Kellerhals-Stewart — Just Wasn’t Enough

It’s the last run of the day and hotdog skier Luc isn’t afraid to go out of bounds to get the most out of a downhill experience. Though his girlfriend, Cass, is a bit more cautious, she’s not going to let Luc go on his own. But as the weather takes a turn for the worse, the skiers become lost. When Search and Rescue gets the phone call that the skiers may be missing, the office is being manned by rookie Chic. The rescue team know they must wait until morning before they set out in the poor weather conditions, but when they still haven’t located the missing skiers by the end of the next day, Chic decides it’s up to him to head out and find them on his own.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for purposes of review. These opinions are my own and I received no compensation for them. Descriptions of the book here are taken from Goodreads.

I’ve always wanted to write something about something about skiing. I don’t think I could turn it into a novel, but I could certainly do a novella or a short story. But something. Almost every time I go skiing (every weekend and holiday during the season) I find myself looking for days to describe things in the most accurate light. The wind streaking across my face even through my mask, not having to even look at the camera because of my reflective goggles, the battle scars that come as bruises and raccoon eyes due to spring skiing, the passion I have for snow sports and the feeling U get when you land a huge jump or when I did my first full 360. There are so many things I want to write down, to give a name to. And the main problem I had with POWDERHOUNDS is that it didn’t feel like any of the passion for skiing was there.

Right now, I’m writing this post during the Winter Olympics. I basically spent my morning rewatching the Olympic qualifying events, former Winter Olympics and the X Games. Shaun White and Julia Mancuso rule the world.

And also right now, I’m disappointed that this book couldn’t portray all the amazing things that come with skiing and snowboarding. There’s nothing quite like these two sports, and right from the beginning until the very end of POWDERHOUNDS, I felt like this was more like Frozen than something from the Warren Miller channel, a cautionary tale written as a way to scare your kid off the slopes forever and deter them from the very idea of getting on snow with bulky, heavy boots and equipment.

Overall, SAR wasn’t bad. I just felt that some of the plot details were improbably or unlikely. There were a lot of things I wished had gone differently, and I just couldn’t feel a lot of love for the characters. I liked the descriptions of things, if nothing else. The feeling of the cold and a full-out blizzard was done really well. I wish I could’ve enjoyed POWDERHOUNDS more, but really–I feel like I can’t. I think that some people will enjoy it, and mature MG and YA kids will like it, but for me–SAR just wasn’t enough. 1.5 stars.

pg count for the paperback: 176

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