From the Don’t-Try-This-At-Home Files

January 2, 2011 at 11:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on From the Don’t-Try-This-At-Home Files

I’m not sure how I initially missed this gem, but last month’s SKI Magazine (December 2010) had an article on do-it-yourself backyard ski hills. I’ve always been fascinated by those folks who meld a passion for skiing with a knack for tinkering, and somehow find the time, hard-to-acquire parts, and stroke of jury-rigged luck to create a fully functioning micro ski area in their own backyards. I frequently admire one that I pass on Route 10 in Taghkanic, NY, which now appears to have not only two well-mowed trails, but also a working rope-tow, a finely painted miniature warming hut with deck, and even snowmaking equipment – and a vertical drop of perhaps 100 feet.

But the real highlight of the story was the web video it directs you to at www.skiliftportabletow.com. I can’t really do the video justice with words, so you’ll just have to watch it yourself. It appears to be a real-life sales pitch for a personal, portable, easy-to-assemble handle-tow lift that you can pack into the trunk of your car, and have up and running on any short slope in about 15 minutes. But though the site is functional and the lift seems to be presently available, the video looks as though it was probably filmed during the heyday of Betamax, and the ‘lift’ – essentially a lawnmower engine anchored by a single large tent stake, capable of careening skiers uphill at an eye-popping 15 miles per hour or so – does not look like it would be ‘street legal’ anywhere in North America.

Then again, if you do happen to have one of these, or know anyone who does, I’d love to give it a whirl.

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