Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Powder Burn

Powder Burn chronicles the intentionally set fires on Vail Mountain in 1998. Vail was expanding into new areas. Those areas had previously been wilderness. Lodges in the expansion area were torched just before they opened.

There was a great deal
of controversy, some environmentally related, some not, surrounding the Vail expansion. Consequently, the arson suspect list is quite long. Powder Burn reads like a great thriller or mystery. It's an edge of your seat sort of read. You are kept guessing about the true identity of the arsonist. At the time of the book's publication, the mystery had not been solved, which is presumably some of the whodunit of the story. However, since the book's publication, the case has been solved. (Google it once you've read the book.)

I don't think the lack of an answer in the book hurts it. Instead, I think it probably helped it because all sides of the issue are thoroughly explained and explored. If the mystery had been solved prior to the book's publication, I feel like it would have been very easy to gloss over the groups and people who weren't responsible for the arson. Even though they weren't the ones burning down Vail's buildings, they still had plenty of reasons why they might like to see the new lodges gone.

The quote on the top of the cover is from Outside Magazine. They call Powder Burn "an alpine Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." I think this is an accurate description. Powder Burn gives a great feel for Vail as well as diving into the tension surrounding the ski resort and the fires. It only has a handful of reviews on goodreads, which to me is disappointing because it's a great read.

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