Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh, it's ON!

I lay down across the triangle shaped snow tube and wait for the "go" signal. I am dressed head-to-toe in various pieces of snow gear. I can move, just a bit stiffly. I haven't been this bundled up since I was put into a snowsuit when I was four years old. I am really glad that I went the bathroom before we started sledding.
Jenna and Riley are sitting on a double snow tube in front of me. I watched them talk conspiratorially as I approached the run. Neither of them is looking at me. Somethings afoot, I think to myself, but I don't care. The girls are having fun and that's all that matters.
Not that I'm not having fun because I certainly am, too.
It's Sunday morning in South Royalton, VT. The mountains are covered in snow but they are barely visible through the lightly falling snow. Instead, I look out over the trees and nearby farms and revel in the peaceful silence of the moment.
Now our group - from six to sixty-four years old - is suited up and on the hill. We have all raced down the hill and met ignoble wipe outs at the bottom. Its so much fun.
Since the driveway is 2/10th of a mile long we use the car to get back up the hill to allow for more sled runs. Bridget has raced to the bottom of the driveway on a snow scooter while Jim followed behind in the car. Bridget is now armed with a video camera while Jim takes up position at the end of the driveway just in case a runaway sled jumps the bank and heads out onto the drive. Bridget has maneuvered into place at the bottom of the connecting trails so that this fantastic race can be recorded for all time.
There have already been two other races. Bridget and I shared the double sled while Riley streaked down hill on the plastic sled "Orange Lightning" and Jenna charged towards the treeline on the triangle tube "Snow Storm". A second triangle blew up on impact with the snowbanks at the bottom of the hill. It was a gruesome death. Bridget and I built up a fantastic head of speed. Not enough to beat the kids (who jumped out of the gate) but enough so that we shrieked and laughed our whole way down the hill even as the sled made two complete rotations despite our efforts to the contrary. The resulting "snow plow effect" at the bottom covered us in light, powdery snow. Still, the laughter continued.
Now, I've challenged the two girls to a race. As we reached the top of the driveway, Riley bellows out, "Oh, it's ON, Andrew!"
Bridget, Jim and I laugh out loud as Riley marches to the top of the track. Now, here I am. Sitting behind the girls and waiting for the "Go" from Bridget and Jim.
At the word "go" Jenna turns about and hurls a snowball at my head, which explodes into a puff of white mist. When I look again she is scrambling their sled off the launch pad as Riley throws two more snowballs at me. "Oh, it's ON!" I yell as my arms flail wildly against the ground to get my sled moving.
Damn, their sled is moving fast.
As I close in on their sled Jenna turns around and throws her last snowball. I let out a roar as I grab on to the back of their sled. Undaunted, she starts to pummel me. Her gloved hands are harmless against my well-insulated frame but it is a distraction. Now we start to turn counter-clockwise and I'm now heading feet-first down the hill. I can hear Jenna yelling to Riley "Hit him! Hit him" and still we hurtle downwards. Now we're gaining speed. We're laughing as the sleds go a bit off-track, spreading a cloud of snow before us. As my vision clears I realize we're close to the bottom.
"Oh no!" I yell as I'm trying to move us towards the snowbanks and NOT the treeline.
"No!" I yell as I realize I'm not going to slow us down.
The two sleds slam into the snowbanks and bodies fly everywhere.
I slide down into the trees, snow covering nearly all of me. Riley flies forward and to the right, sliding to a stop safely away from everything. Jenna somehow lands upright on the top of the snowbank. The sleds have scattered. I can't hear anything over our laughter.
Bridget and Jim start to explain just what it looked like as we raced down the hill while Bridget tells us that she think she captured it all on video. Jenna gets up and jumps on my back; Riley joins in. The three of us, buried in the snow, and laughing. Finally, the girls get up. We head back to the car where Jim will pilot Mountainshuttle One back up the driveway. Bridget catches up to me. "Having a good time?" she asks.
"Absolutely," I reply, grinning like an idiot.
"Let's go again!" Riley yells.
"Yeah!" We say in reply.
Oh, it's ON!


Blogger Fox In Detox said...

So much fun! I love sledding! You're lucky you didn't get hurt there old man...

2:36 PM, January 19, 2009  
Blogger Andy said...

Nice...real nice.
Aren't you older than me...?

3:14 PM, January 19, 2009  
Blogger Bridget said...

SO MUCH FUN! And, yes, I did get the whole final race on video. It certainly was a 'yard sale' of bodies and sleds at the bottom. I can't believe there were no major injuries, especially since Jenna went head first through the trees. Thanks for a great weekend. Dad had a blast too (and by the way, he's 66). :-)

3:56 PM, January 19, 2009  

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