Local artist and ski patroller gets a jump on the season with kids novel ‘Danger: Avalanche Warning’
For information about Denise de Vines’ “Danger: Avalanche Warning” or the National Ski Patrol’s Young Adult program, email email@example.com.
Park City-based artist and illustrator Denise de Vines drew upon her 25-year career as a ski patroller to pen her new children’s action novel, “Danger: Avalanche Warning.”
“I have seen the dangers and results of avalanches, and one of those stark memories is when I was part of a search team that was trying to locate a boy at Mount Baldy in California,” de Vines said. “The dad was with us every single day, but unfortunately we weren’t able to locate his son until the snowmelt in the spring.”
“Danger: Avalanche Warning” is set in Utah, and is about a vacationing family that finds itself trapped in a blizzard in the backcountry. During a confusing moment, the father and children get separated and one of the party triggers an avalanche.
The book, which is available at Dolly’s Bookstore, Atticus and J.W. Allen & Sons Toys & Candy, as well as online at avalanchedanger.com, is a cautionary tale that provides readers with avalanche safety tips.
The idea for the book blossomed during a winter storm five years ago.
“I was sitting at my computer in Park Meadows, and I kept hearing the avalanche charges going off at the ski resorts,” said de Vines, a recipient of the Purple Star and the National Ski Patrol’s top Outdoor Emergency Care Instructor. “I started thinking about what a child would make of the explosions. So, I started the initial draft, and added to it throughout the years.”
The author knew the story had to include exciting elements to keep the attention of younger readers.
“When my son was a boy, I struggled to find books that had action elements that would interest him,” said de Vines, who will celebrate her sixth season as a Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors-certified instructor at Deer Valley. “So with this book, I tried to incorporate helicopters, search dogs and skiing that he would have enjoyed reading about.”
To ensure accuracy, de Vines asked Craig Olsen, head of the National Ski Patrol’s Intermountain Division Avalanche Program and owner of Black Diamond Heliski in Huntsville, to serve as the book’s technical advisor.
“Craig is amazing,” she said. “He is part of the team who is currently working on a new avalanche manual, and his prowess with understanding the conditions is priceless.”
In addition, local avalanche forecaster Craig Gordon wrote the introduction for the book, de Vines said.
A portion of “Danger: Avalanche Warning” proceeds will help fund scholarships for the National Ski Patrol’s Young Adult Program, formerly known as the Junior Patrol Program, according to de Vines.
“I have committed to a five-year scholarship program consisting of two annual awards to skiers and snowboarders ages 15 to 17, across the nation,” she said. “Those scholarships will be awarded in December.”
De Vines’ daughter, Janel McInnes, inspired the author to fund the scholarships.
“Janel started out as a junior patroller for the National Ski Patrol, and is now on the Woodward Park City’s patrol team,” she said. “The junior patroller program inspired her to study firefighting in school. And she is actually responsible for saving my son’s life during a house fire when we lived in Huntington Beach, California.”
De Vines is grateful to see her book finally come into fruition, and cites Katie Mullaly, local author of the “Land Of” children’s book series, for her help with the book design.
“This is my first book, and even though I’m an artist who is experienced in layout, I wanted someone who could embellish and add to what I initially wanted,” de Vines said. “I worked closely with Katie and we have developed a great friendship.”
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“One of the underlined themes of these works is my hope that if people see all Black faces in ski gear, conceptually, it will trigger some thoughts so they will feel different the next time they get on the mountain and see a person of color skiing or snowboarding.”