Thursday, January 22, 2004
1 pair of used skis (Goodwill)
1 old lawnchair (also Goodwill)
The courage and heart of the men who served on The Endurance.
Soon after we moved to Portland, people started lecturing us about what to expect from winter. Jill would eagerly ask "Is there much snow?", having been deprived by a childhood in Pacific Palisades. "Barely any, and it'll melt right off" was the wisdom we were fed repeatedly. Then the new year began with a nice full snow that took two days to melt, followed quickly by a good five inches layered with ice that stayed on the ground for over a week. The roads didn't melt off either, since they don't ice them here (nor should they, the town is connected by several steel bridges that wouldn't like it).
People were cross-country skiing through town, and kids were flocking to the steepest hills to slide down on whatever would work. Here was my dilemma: the stores would have sold all of their discs and flexible flyers by now, and our garbage can lids aren't shaped right for sledding. So I go to my favorite Goodwill (which I need to talk about in-depth at a later date) and buy some short skis for $5. Then I see the $2 lawnchairs. It all becomes clear...
I bent the legs to give some surface to screw the skis to, and then realized I'd made them too short for the seat to clear the ground well. So I cut a couple of boards and put them between to raise my bottom. Tie a rope to it, and pull it over to that hill by the river. Everyone looked anxiously when they saw the chair sled. Sure it looked cool, but would it work?
Oh Yeah. It worked, and it's fast! It does rest on skis after all. The only drawback was that after a few times my mighty weight started breaking the aluminum chair. But the design proved successful. Later I looked online and found Scandinavian-style sleds that were essentially the same thing, but all wood so you can lean and steer better than with mine. I've now taken the skis off and trashed the chair, so I'll be looking for a new seat if the weather looks promising again. I'm toying with the idea of spending another five bucks on some extra long skis so I can put TWO seats on one.