Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Welcome Back Snow!

Finally, some snow. I must admit, I think it's wonderful. I may have told you that last Janurary I bought this beat-up toboggan off some Canadian guy in an old pick-up that looked like it had dog cages in the bed. I found it through an ad in the classifieds and the transaction took place one evening in the Home Depot parking lot. When I got the thing home, it was in worse shape than it appeared in the dark, but for $35, I definitely had a solid piece of wood I could work with. I think I invested about $10 in some screws, cut up an old belt for leather strapping material, and put a few hours worth of manpower in. After a couple test runs, I decided we needed a pad and ordered one off E-bay. A couple weeks later it arrived, and what do you know, it stopped snowing...until now that is.

I was out of town when the initial couple feet hit, but arrived back home Friday. By Sunday, we were up at Erie Golf Course. Must have been about 50 people there around sunset time, and we were all cruising down the ice covered slopes - if you remember there was some freezing rain that day. Well, we took it easy and made a few runs down one of the remedial slopes, but we were still moving pretty good. Then, last night, as we got hit hard with fluffy snow - it seemed like the perfect time to try out my new/old sled at Frontier. I figured on a Tuesday, the crowds would be sparse and the new-fallen snow would keep the track slow enough that I could still work out some kinks.

Now, as it kept snowing, it became clear that maybe one shouldn't take to the roads for something as frivilous as a sled ride, but something kept pulling at me. It was almost like that old toboggan was calling me from the garage. I kept trying to find excuses not to go, but after taking out the garbage and shoveling the walks and driveway, I found myself waxing her up with a piece from an old candle. I leaned her against the car and waited. The snow was falling heavily and thickly, and I went inside to check on my son and see if he still wanted to go. After some chaos involving him not wanting to go in the basement himself to get his coat, we headed out. I don't think the wife was all too happy, as I was leaving her with a baby and my daughter who was too tired to go out, but as I said, I was being called.

We negotiated through a near-white out to get to Frontier and found ourselves on hill with a couple drunken teenagers on snow boards. The snow was so thick, that on the first ride down, its spray blinded me, but my instincts had proven correct and we made it down at a nice cruising speed without hitting any jumps. After we wore a path, the spray decreased and we picked up speed. We just went down about four times, but that was enough for me to learn what I needed to about the old toboggan. As I get a better feel, I expect to be able to go faster and take more chances.

But, regardless of all that, it was an absolutely beautiful night at the park. I'm not sure where all the ambient light was coming from, but its reflection off the snow gave the whole place a wonderful night-time glow and the heavy falling snowflakes and peaceful setting surrounded by trees created a winter paradise. Yeah, the snow gets a bad rap, but when you haven't had it for awhile...boy, was I starting to miss it. Last night reaffirmed why. Welcome back snow! Erie in the winter is not such a bad place after all.


Stan Langerhaus said...

Well said Ralph. Throw in some illustrations and I think you have a sure-fire, best selling children's story here.

Stan Langerhaus said...

On the other hand, you could put in some graphic nudity, add some f-bombs and you will have a decent HBO mini-series. Your choice really. I could make some calls and get you in touch with some people who might want to take the project forward. Just call me.

Ralph said...

There were plenty of f-bombs from the drunken teenagers...