Race you to the hot fudge," George Fayne said to her cousin Bess Marvin.
"No way." Bess pushed her blond hair behind her ear and picked up her dish of chocolate ice cream. "I don't want hot fudge today. I'm having caramel."
Eight-year-old Nancy Drew smiled as she sprinkled chopped nuts over her strawberry ice cream. The three best friends were at a make-your-own-sundae party at the Snowshoe Mountain Ski Lodge.
Nancy's father had brought Nancy, Bess, and George to the resort for a three-day weekend. The girls were going to take skiing lessons at the Snowshoe Lodge ski school. The school had classes for everyone, from beginners to experts.
"I still can't believe we're really here," Nancy said to her friends. She glanced around the large, wood-paneled dining room. All around her, people were helping themselves to ice cream and toppings. Outside the window, snow was falling gently as the sun set behind the tall peak of Snowshoe Mountain. "I've always wanted to learn to ski."
"Me, too," Bess said.
"You'll love it," George promised. George liked all kinds of sports. She had been skiing a few times before.
The girls walked across the crowded room to the table where Mr. Drew was drinking coffee. "Do you think all these people are here for ski school?" Nancy asked her father as they sat down.
"I hope not," George said. "I want to spend the weekend skiing, not waiting in line."
"Don't worry, George." Mr. Drew smiled. "I'm sure you'll be able to do all the skiing you want."
"That's right," Bess said. "Your lucky necklace won't let you get stuck in line."
George scooped up a bite of her hot-fudge sundae and nodded.
"You mean the necklace your parents just gave you?" Nancy asked.
George swallowed her ice cream. Then she reached up and touched the pair of little silver skis hanging from a velvet ribbon around her neck. "It's my good-luck charm."
"It's great," Nancy said, looking at the tiny skis.
"Look, girls," Mr. Drew said, nodding toward the small stage at one end of the room. "They're going to make an announcement."
The girls turned and saw a man with short, sandy hair stepping up to a microphone on the stage. "May I have your attention, please?" he asked.
Nancy, Bess, and George stopped talking. But the two boys at the next table weren't paying attention to the man. They kept laughing loudly. One of them picked up a spoonful of ice cream and flipped it at the other.
The second boy leaned to the side, and the ice cream went flying past him -- straight toward Bess!
Bess saw it coming just in time and ducked. The ice cream landed on the floor behind her.
"You creeps! You almost got ice cream on my sweater!" Bess cried.
The boys stared at her. They looked exactly alike. Even their clothes were the same. The only way to tell them apart was by the hot-fudge mustache one of them had on his face.
"Look, they're twins," Nancy said.
"Twin creeps, you mean," Bess said, frowning at the boys.
The boy with the fudge mustache stuck out his tongue. His brother picked up another spoonful of ice cream and aimed it at Bess.
"Don't even think about it," Bess warned.
Mr. Drew turned and saw what was happening. "That's enough, boys," he said.
Both twins turned and faced the stage.
"I want to welcome everyone to Snowshoe Mountain," the man on the stage said. "I'm Bob Murray, the director of the ski school. How many of you are here for our ski school weekend?"
A lot of people waved their hands and cheered, including Nancy and Bess. George put two fingers in her mouth and whistled.
Bob Murray smiled. "I know you'll all have a great time and learn a lot. Now I'd like to introduce our instructors."
The ski instructors all wore black ski pants and bright red jackets.
"I love their outfits," Bess said. "They're almost as cute as my new pink ski jacket and hat." Her jacket was hanging on the back of her chair, with the pink hat tucked into the pocket.
"When you've finished eating, feel free to explore the rest of the lodge," Bob Murray said. "There's a game room across the hall, and a fireplace in the lounge. I hope everyone has a great weekend!"
"Let's go check out the game room, " Nancy said to her friends. "Can we, Dad?"
"Okay," her father said. "I'll come to get you in a little while."
Nancy, Bess, and George quickly slurped down the rest of their ice cream. They picked up their jackets and hurried across the hall and into the game room.
"Looks like they're showing some cool skiing videos." George pointed to a big-screen television by the windows.
"Hey, maybe they have Star Quest," Nancy said when she saw the row of video games along the wall. The game was based on one of Nancy's favorite movies. "Let's go see."
As the girls headed toward the games, Nancy heard the sound of running footsteps. Then someone pushed Bess -- hard.She stumbled and almost fell into a table. Nancy grabbed her arm at the last minute.
"Bess, are you okay?" Nancy asked.
"My new ski hat," Bess cried. "Those twins just grabbed it out of my pocket!"