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Getting ready for winter

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By the time I’m done coaching summer camp in mid-June, I’m usually ready for a few months without snow. I switch into summer mode, lakes, boats, wakeboards, bikes, and work, of course. But then that first crisp note of snow in the fall air triggers it, and suddenly, the snow can’t come soon enough.

The smell of snow came early this year, but the snow itself is only just starting to show up. I spent the time rebuilding my childhood winter playground.

For those that don’t know, my wife and I spend our summers in Fairbanks, Alaska. I grew up in Fairbanks, learned to ski about the same time I learned to walk, and started snowboarding at age 10. People think of Alaska as a skiing and snowboarding Mecca, and while areas of Alaska are incredible, Fairbanks is cold, and doesn’t get much snow.

In high school my snowboarding crew consisted of a handful of close friends that spent our days figuring out how to snowboard without much snow. There were three ski areas open on the weekends each with only a few hundred vertical feet. Ski Land was our favorite, and we would ride even at -30 degrees (I believe they closed at -40).

During the weeks, we would build features at our houses, or at some areas we had found around town. My parents were kind (or crazy) enough to give us pretty free reign with a section of their property, and my backyard park was born. Over the course of a few years we cut down enough trees to give us room to build rails, jumps, and various other features.

This fall, I decided it was time for the park to be reborn:

The new park features a 15-20′ tabletop, three quarterpipes (one pure QP, one QP to barrel jib, and one that I would like to put a wall-ride on), and room for several rail features. There’s also a drop-in ramp that will double as a hip-transfer if there’s enough speed. I have three new box/rail features to finish building and set up, and I’d like to build a wallride, but I don’t know if I’ll have time. But I’m stoked to have finally built the park I’d always imagined the hill should have, and I know my inner 16-year-old is way stoked.

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