The Angry Giant of Troll Mountain
by Don Arthur Torgersen

No one could ski like the giants of old
Who raced through the blizzards
And blazed through the cold.
They bounded up glaciers and tall cliffs of ice
And vaulted the peaks at fantastic heights.
They soared over canyons, swept oceans of snow,
While snow clouds and avalanche tumbled below.
So beware, so beware of the giants of old
Who rest on the mountains and sleep in the snow.


It was wintertime in the western mountains. Aspen and Snowmass were covered with newfallen snow, and the cold winter sun blazed brightly in the sky. It was a great day for skiing and riding.
Scott, Dana, and Drummer, who were members of the Rocky Mountain Extreme Team, were getting ready to attack the slopes of Troll Mountain. It was a very steep mountain hidden in the back country behind Aspen Mountain. It was a place where only expert skiers would go to meet the challenge of the slopes.
The three boys fixed their bindings, stepped onto their skis, and planted their ski poles. Scott and Dana strapped snowboards on their backs and adjusted their sun goggles. Drummer pulled down a white woolen cap with blue tassels over his ears.
Drummer said, "It’s a great day for a ski race. The snow is fast and dry like powder. If you slip and fall, it’ll be like falling into a pile of feathers. I’m going to fly down Troll Mountain faster than a golden eagle."
"And I’ll zoom down faster than a guided missile," said Scott.
"But I’ll win," bragged Dana, because I always win!"
The three boys set off on their skis. They had to climb over a pass between Aspen Mountain and Shadow Mountain to get to the back country, and that took a lot of time and energy. When reached the other side, they skied down to the edge of a frozen lake.
They stopped at the edge of the lake to take a rest. They saw a man on snowshoes walking across the frozen lake, which was snow covered, and he was coming straight toward them. He was wearing a parka with a hood, and he had a rope slung round his shoulder.
The boys soon recognized their good friend, Uncle Hans
Sled-bo. Uncle Hans had traveled all around the world and had seen many things. He loved to tell tall tales about trolls, gnomes, frost giants, ships, sailing, and fabulous creatures.
"Hello, ski bums!" he called out. I’ve just come back from a great expedition. I was tracking giant footprints in the snow.
I almost captured the abominable, com-bobble-abul, improbable Snowman. You know, Bigfoot. But he got away again. Where are you boys going?"
"We’re going to have a ski race on Troll Mountain," said Drummer.
"That’s a fabulous mountain," remarked Uncle Hans as he scratched his head. But then his eyes grew wide and he said, "Did I ever tell you how Troll Mountain got its shape?"
The boys laughed and said no.
Well, a long, long time ago," began Uncle Hans, "a race of frost giants and giant snow trolls ruled the earth. They came from a place in the far north during the Ice Ages where it snowed all year round and the sun was seldom seen in the sky.
"They were fierce giants who were afraid of nothing, nothing at all, except the sun. They built huge ice structures and tossed huge boulders at one another like snowballs. They were so strong they could push mountains apart and kick deep valleys in the earth.
"Those old giants were fantastic skiers. One of them was a giant she-giant who skied on skis made from the tallest trees on earth. She skied so fast that her skis smoked in the snow. And when her ski tracks melted they formed creeks that ran down the mountainside.
"Another was a giant he-giant who skied through the snow with great ships lashed to his feet. Each time he took a step he left a deep valley between the mountains."
"But those giants were too big for their britches. Each one thought that he or she was bigger and stronger than the others."
"I’m the biggest and strongest giant of all," claimed one.
"No, I’m the biggest and strongest giant of all," shouted another.
"Shut up, you runts," yelled another. "I’m the biggest and strongest, and I’ll make you eat snow."
"The giant snow trolls argued for thousands and thousands of years. One day they grew so angry that they charged at one another and had a great battle.
"They fought for at least a thousand years more and probably longer than that. The earth shook, the mountains trembled, the sky thundered. The entire world was caught in a whirling, swirling snowstorm.
"The giant snow trolls fought so long and so hard that they finally grew tired. They walked all around the earth until they found a place to rest in these mountains. Then they lay down and went to sleep and were soon covered with snow."
Uncle Hans Sled-bo pointed straight out at Troll Mountain and said, "Stand back and take a good look at the mountains. You’ll see by their shapes that many of them are sleeping giants. Be careful not to wake them up," he warned. "They might get angry. They’ll rumble and grumble and start fighting all over again."
"Gosh! said Scott. "How come you said those fierce snow trolls were afraid of the sun?"
"Because," replied Uncle Hans, "if a giant snow troll looks at the sun, he’s doomed, he’s done! He’ll either turn to stone or burst into a thousand chunks and pieces. Who knows?"

Uncle Hans laughed a big, hearty laugh. He waved goodbye to the boys and started to stomp off through the snow. "Let me know if you see giant footprints in the snow. One of these days I’m going to catch Bigfoot, the abominable, com-bobble-abul, improbable snowman and tie him up with my rope once and for all."
Scott, Dana and Drummer began to cross the frozen lake to get to the base of Troll Mountain. "If I see a giant troll," boasted Dana, "I’ll give his long nose a whack with my ski pole. Then I’ll yank off his tail and make him yell Uncle Hans. Hah!"
"Oh, yeah?" said Scott. "If you wake up one of those giant snow trolls, I’ll bet you’ll stand in you tracks and shiver and we’ll hear your knees knocking."
When the boys reached the base of the mountain, they heard happy shouts and laughter. Many kids were skiing, sledding, riding snowboards, and having a barrel of fun on the sunny south slopes.
Gail Granger of the ski patrol was there. She warned the boys, "Make sure you stay on the sunny, south side of the mountain. There’s no skiing on the western slopes today.
"The snow has built up into a huge ridge near the summit.
When the sun comes round the peak and starts to melt the snow on the western side, it could cause an avalanche. You’d be in danger of getting swallowed up by tons and tons of tumbling snow."
The three boys took a tow rope to the top of an expert ski run called Steeper Deeper. When they reached top, they looked down the slope. It was so steep and so deep they could not ever see bottom.
Dana yelled, "Steep slopes are no place for slow pokes. Last one down Steeper Deeper is an itchy twitchy troll…….."
Dana pushed off and down he shot like an arrow—but not on his skis. His skis bumped something in the snow, and his legs began to split. His knees caved in, his skis went wide, he did spread-eagle flops down the mountainside. Before coming to a stop, he plowed right through the snow with his chin.
Drummer skied right past Dana who was lying flat on his belly with his arms and legs stretched out in the snow. Scott, riding his snowboard, slid past, laughing hard.
Dana waved one of his ski poles at his buddies and yelled, "Don’t laugh, you guys. My skis caught a troll’s nose or else I would have won the race. And that’s a fact."