This is an American version of Gary's Ski Bum of last year; it hasn't quite the style or the palpitant mystique, but it runs to twice the length and lots more personnel, all of whom polarize around a resort built in the High Sierras by one Dick Macklin. Macklin died in an avalanche (deliberately cut?) nine years ago but he's very much around in the memory of all concerned: his wife, his son, and particularly Maeve whom everyone had been half in love with and he had seduced. Maeve, who has been jet-setting ever since, returns, still beautiful if beat, and doomed. Cancer. Then too there's ski guru Easy Clary, the advocate of ""the beautiful life,"" who formulates his agenda of Personal Principles in the first chapter and demonstrates them by remaining unattached, uncommitted. And quite a few others. The trajectories of their lives animate the proceedings and there's a good deal of talk, in intense italics, about their hang-ups and cop-outs, most of which are purposefully resolved by the close. Still, like skiing, it's no more than schuss-and-kuss entertainment, and like the powder, it will melt without a trace.