Truck loads of snow turn Hilden backyard into preseason ski hill
HILDEN - Charles Stevens was tired of waiting for winter, so he brought it to his neighbourhood.
The 18-year-old free-style skier from Hilden held a snow day in his family's backyard on Edward Drive Saturday.
"The (ski) hills are not open yet," and he was tired of waiting, said Stevens as about 30 skiers and snowboarders took their turn flying down a ramp/hill. Some executed flawless jumps and spins, while others took a spill along the way.
Even with mishaps laughter ruled the day and safety was a priority with participants wearing a helmet.
It took Stevens most of last week to bring in an estimated four tons of snow from area rinks.
"It was so warm through the week ... we got a load of snow (last) Monday, five more on Wednesday and four more on Friday," said Stevens.
Participants had to climb 25 stairs to the top of the 16-foot high, four-foot wide ramp. The length of the ramp/hill was about 150 feet, almost the length of the yard.
In addition to the snow-packed yard, Stevens constructed two rails on the hill, two boxes for stunts and placed a lawn roller at the end of the ramp.
"I had this idea two years ago and had one on a smaller scale last year," said Stevens, who has been skiing since the age of five and spent August in New Zealand skiing. "It took four weeks to build. I love it."
As participants gathered, ages nine and up, a barbecue was also made available by Stevens' mom, Janice.
"Wow, this is awesome!" she said. "The kids have so much fun ... and you know where they're at."
Truro's Dirk Taylor was also impressed.
"I can't wait for winter," Taylor said regarding why he headed to the make-shift hill.
"I learned about this from Facebook and it's awesome. You can show your talent and (having it in a backyard) is unique for this area."
Kim Sutherland also heard about the event from Facebook and travelled from Windsor to attend.
"It's a little pre-season treading," she Sutherland.
"It's probably better than (Ski) Martock. It's in his backyard! I've been to them before, but not to this extent."
Stevens is interested in carrying on the backyard event on a more regular basis, until the "real" ski hills open.