Two brothers battle for dominance on the slopes in hopes of shaking a decadeslong family curse.
In the small northern California town of Mammoth Lakes, life revolves around the snow and the mountain, which is the domain of the Carson family under patriarch Adam. The Carson legacy is a troubled one. Adam’s two grandsons, half brothers Sky Carson and Wylie Welborn, have been at odds their entire lives because Sky’s mother, Cynthia, pregnant with Sky, shot and killed the brothers’ father, who was having an affair with Kathleen, who was pregnant with Wylie. After Wylie arrives back in town following a five-year stint in the Marines, the brothers, now both 25, renew their rivalry on the ski cross course, both angling to take home the Mammoth Cup, a victory that sends the winner to the X Games and possibly the Olympics. Parker (Full Measure, 2014, etc.) gives his heroes and villains stock strengths and neuroses so that when they ultimately succeed or fail, it’s neither thrilling nor surprising. Wylie, the more focused and stable of the brothers, wants to win the cup to help his family’s struggling coffee shop, Let It Bean, which is being overrun by a Starbucks-like corporate chain, while the mentally deteriorating Sky wants to crush Wylie—the “demon bastard”—on the mountain and everywhere else. The events that led to the death of the brothers’ father at the hands of Sky’s mother are barely touched on, while lavish, even excessive, attention is paid to the intricacies of ski racing.
Despite a picturesque setting, there’s little here beyond a drawn-out family squabble on skis.