Searching for a ski run to ride my sled for one last time | SummitDaily.com
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Searching for a ski run to ride my sled for one last time

ANDREW GMEREK

If I’m going to achieve my ultimate goal, I guess I’ll need to ask for help. The assistance I require, however, cannot come from average Summit County resident. I need the help of an executive from a ski resort. I am, of course, not asking for anything for myself. I’m simply trying to fulfill the wishes of my sled.Since I moved to the mountains more than eight years ago, my now antique, one-of-a-kind sled has whispered to me on more than one occasion that it wants to take one last great ride. It says, “Take me to a ski run. Let me ride just one big mountain before I finally rust away.”And who am I to deny its wishes?My sled was born in a factory sometime around 1967 or 68, was a Christmas gift, and has been my winter companion ever since.

Unlike some sleds of its day, those made of wood and steel or others fabricated out of flimsy, almost see-through plastic, mine was built to last. And for more than 35 years it has survived meetings with trees, the abuse of a thousand children and even one journey down a storm drain.But what makes my sled unique, besides the whole whispering in my ear thing, is that it is controllable.Over the years I’ve seen plenty of so-called controllable sleds on the market with all kinds of gadgets and pedals to make the sled turn, but I’ve never seen a turning mechanism as simple or as durable as my 60s sled.Grafted to the body are two straight metal handles. Pull right, the sled swings right. Pull left, it goes left and if you pull on both handles it stops.Yes, that might sound juvenile and describing it the way I have some people might yawn and say, “So what?”But the moment I take it out on a sledding hill, just watch the other kids’ – I mean the kids’ – eyes bug out with envy. It is a masterpiece of sledding pulchritude, and I’ve never seen another like it since that first winter it came my way.

The other thing that sets my sled apart is its speed. Even on a slight hill, if the snow is packed hard, it will almost leave a jet trail behind from its thick runners.Which leads me to my problem. What I need from a ski area representative is, quit literally, a lift. Sure I’ve considered outfitting myself like the guys that trudge up Breckenridge’s Peak 8 early in the morning to catch the fresh powder before the lifts start running, but all I have to do is look at that kind of a mountain and I know I’m licked.Heck, by the time I made it to any elevation on foot, in the shape I’m currently in, I’d probably be riding down at one o’clock the next morning.Of course I’m willing to go anytime, and I’m planning on sledding a green run.

I’ll wear a helmet, sign a binding release form and even slap a bumper sticker on the back of my sled advertising the ski area in all its glory.Then I’ll say nice things about the ski company for the rest of my life.So if there is someone out there who can make this thing happen, please drop me an email.Think of it not as if you’re doing me a favor but as if you’re helping to fulfill the childhood dream of a boy and his sled. A couple of friends that once, a long time ago, were both kings of the mountain.Andrew Gmerek writes a Friday column. He can be reached at agmerek@hotmail.com.


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