Now skiing has its own mascot¿a white-and-black-striped "snow tiger" named Snowball, created by Durango, Colo., dad and video producer Jack Turner. Snowball is the star of a new series of children's videos called The Snow Monsters, conceived when Turner volunteered to create a stage production for his daughter's budget-strapped elementary school.
The Turner family's school project mushroomed into a full-fledged video production, which follows two youngsters, Hannah and Grady, on their first ski trip. They meet Snowball, who shows them around the mountain and introduces all the cool critters inhabiting it¿Snow Snakes, Powder Pigs, Blizzard Babies and Snowboard Beavers. Turner pushes safety and courtesy, but sugarcoats those themes in a high-energy production that keeps the 12-and-under set entertained. The action is fun, and the soundtrack rocks, with contributions from Big Head Todd and John Lee Hooker, among others. "Kids love rock, rap, hip-hop, all that stuff," says Turner, whose daughter plays Hannah. "Why give them Barney music when they prefer the good stuff?"
And why settle for less when you can have the grand diva of soul? Production is under way for a second Snow Monsters video, in which Aretha Franklin stars as Mother Nature (asking for "R-E-S-P-E-C-T," naturally). The Snow Monsters Meet Mother Nature encourages children to nurture the environment while enjoying the mountain.
To learn more about the Snow Monsters or to buy a copy of the tape (there's also a CD/cassette tape version, narrated by Picabo Street), visit www.snowmonsters.com. Don't worry: Snow Monsters don't bite, though they might infect you with their enthusiasm.