Wisconsin Trikke rider takes it to the Edg while trying the Trikke Skki.
He’s a 67-year-old, retired entrepeneur and he’s got a story to tell. Edg Duveyoung, currently of Madison, Wisconsin, has been riding Trikkes since 2003. He created his website’s homage to Trikkes in “the early days, when I was gonzo nutzoid, but I’ve settled down now.” We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Edg’s Trikke Skki Adventure in Da Blizzard
by Edg Duveyoung
So here’s how it all went down.
My buddy, Ron Peck, long time trikker, trainer, seller, and his snowboarding nephew, Jessie, and I stuffed Ron’s Skki and Jessie’s snowboard into my trunk, and off we went in a snowstorm for a jaunt; nay, make that a thrill ride as my car tobogganed along roads that had no clear designations for where they ended and the ditches began. At high speeds appropriate for men at play.
Ron, like all men, dislikes being driven anywhere (natch, since a car is like a TV remote,) so every time my car kaplowed through a two foot high ridge of snow running across the streets, he lost his sense of adventure shall we say?
Jessie’s in the back seat, chuckling.
I’m remembering that just the other day, Ron referred to me as “his elder friend.”
Revenge unplanned is the sweetest, yes? Snow sports includes car-slaloming, right?
Well, the ride was at least the scariest I’ve driven in quite some time, so that’s solid profit right from the get-go, eh? Have to pay $20 for a 3D horror film to get this, so already my cost of gasoline has been matched in a bartering sense. Yes, I think like this.
“… I topple off with the grace of a 200 pound slab of meat dropping off the back of a fleeing Mafia-jacked truck.”
So we get there. This is not your Swiss Ski Resort Vacation Heaven. This is a small affair with two lifts and a tow rope for the bunny hill. And when an enterprise is this small, the owner is capo di tutti capi, and he was our target. We had to convince him to let us use the Skki on his hills. Yes, we drove all that way on a mere chance of being allowed to skki
Considering that no one wants to be seeing a 45 pound riderless hunk of metal doing 40mph at them, the owner, let’s call him Big Jake, was as leery as his insurance company could make him, but he’d already previously said to Ron, “If you can get foot bindings on that machine, then I won’t fret about it dropping from the lifts onto the skiers below.” So, that was our wedged foot in the door, and here we were three weeks later, and Ron had installed absolutely professional looking bindings on the Skki. Looked like the bindings were part of the machine at birth.
So, first, the lift ticket girl wouldn’t sell us a ticket, and she sent us to the “guy with the Packers’ hat” to get permission, but the cheeseheader didn’t have the right to make the call, and that’s when Big Jake was hunted down and brought to the pow wow.
There we were, Big Jake (yes he actually wore a cowboy hat,) Ron, me, and six of Big Jake’s employees standing in a circle around the Skki with Ron rat-a-tat-tatting them with ski lingo and blurbs about how the Skki does this and that. I’m adding punctuations.
Big Jake is reticent. He wants to go back on his word, and everyone can see it.
But Edg didn’t drive all that way fer nuttin, and I psychically bombarded him with a wave front of bliss emanating from my pineal gland at 40,000 gigglerads per second. I think that did the trick.
Or, maybe just maybe it was the group awe.
Big Jake’s employees kept up a steady patter of “sweet,” and “I gotta get me one,” and “wow, that is amazing,” and well, there was a puddle of spiritual drool accumulating in our circle of love for da machine.
“Did I mention I’m not comfortable with heights?”
It really really really is a fine piece of highly engineered wroughting, and it was like we were gathered around a just-found artifact sent to us from the distant future.
Big Jake’s hemming and hawing but not getting any traction because of the drool puddle. Tension builds. I expected someone to faint anon.
Finally we get him to at least let us show him how the Skki isn’t going to get entangled in the lift-chair’s under-works. Ron gets on, and there’s a foot of clearance, and UP HE WENT.
AH! Home free.
Ron comes down this hill like it’s old news. Ho hum. Just another dude on the slopes, and that sealed the deal and Big Jake went back into the clubhouse.
And did I mention the snow storm? The snow was perfect I’m told. In fact, every time Jessie came down, he was screaming “sweet” at the top of his lungs and also the middle and bottom of his lungs.
So there’s me. It’s my turn. Best snow, best new device, and me never not once ever never never ever having been on a ski slope.
Wait, I did do sledding as a kid — maybe that gave me some chops.
Nope, ’twas my trikking expertise that came to the fore.
To me, it was amazing to see my body knew how to skki while my mind was saying, “Ain’t no way I’m going down this mofo hill and surviving.”
I’m getting ahead of the story
So, Ron and Jessie are prepping me like they’re giving me an elder’s aluminum walker with training wheels. And I’m grateful, cuz I’m thinking very hard about how frickin steep the hills are.
I get my left foot bound to the beast, tether attached to wrist, and I try to put my other foot on the other footpad, and whoa! Dis be a slippery Teflon banana peel! Could hardly keep my balance as the steed slid sideways on me. I somehow never expected that. Skki runners are slippery? — go figure!
I push footed myself to the lift entrance, shambled awkwardly to the place to stand so the chair can ass-bang-swoop ya, and up I go.
Ho boy, this was a five minute hardship. My left foot was being torqued as if an invisible being thought it was a neck to be wrung as I struggled to find some way to hold the Skki up. On this first trip up, I didn’t figure it out, so I was panicky, and by the time I reached the disembarkation point, it had ratcheted up to red line.
But, hey, I put both feet on the pads and somehow stood up just in time and I’m skking down a slight slope to a nice stand-still where I wait for Jessie to arrive and guide me down the slopes.
The look on my face said to everyone, “I do this every day!”
“BAM! immediately I fall over about 15 feet from the lift chair …”
While waiting for Jessie, all I see is where the various runs begin, and to me each one was the edge of a cliff.
Did I mention I’m not comfortable with heights?
15 degrees temperature, but I was not shaking from that; I was, well let’s call it, um, shaking in SHEER TERROR
I’m an elder! I’m an elder! What was I doing up there?
By the way, I’m dressed in what is clearly not an outfit denoting some macho hunk hotdogger, I’m looking more like, hmmmm, what’s the word, why, “elder” is the word!
So Jessie says, “Follow me and stay on the left.”
Within seconds I’m way over to the right.
I’m going up hill while going down hill. I’m feeling like an M.C. Escher flat worm negotiating an alternate universe.
I mean, why didn’t they warn me about going up hill gravity powered?
This wasn’t an elder’s learning curve. It was as if one is dropped from an airplane and told to read the sky diving instructions on the way down, and the instructions are in the tiny font used in Japanese DVD player manuals — in light gray ink.
So my trikker’s body’s muscle memory is clicking in, and I’m swinging the craft right and left to scrub off speed, and yet, STILL I’m sluicing sideways down the slope at a pace not unlike using a “Slip N Slide” to traverse a short Green Mile.
I’m witnessing my body’s doing the swerves, but my intellect is simply not able to keep up with ten death threats per second, and my whole being’s needle is making its SECOND trip around the tachometer to see if I can cross the red line AGAIN without my heart bursting like a flywheel at a drag race.
I come to a straight down hill part of the run, and at the end of this straight part, I see that there’s NOWHERE to go once one arrives down there at 40 mph. And I figured me to be hitting there about 60 mph, because, so far, my scrubbing efforts had yet to convince me that this particular part of the run was scrubbable.
This seemed to me to be the doom I’ve long awaited.
Why?, because, I’ve hid from God all my life — on the lam for ten thousand iniquities — and, so, yeah, this was going to be a proper execution, and I mentally genuflected even though I’m not Catholic — hoping a sacred psychic kneeling might get me a stay from the Governor.
The stay never arrived on time.
A price was going to be exacted.
Ya see, God didn’t want me to be surprised at the end of this portion of the run. He wanted me to dwell up on the butchering I was going to have as my body traveled through the underbrush that lopped off my limbs after I exited the high side in a centripetal physics experiment gone awry — a genuine Darwin Award moment presented itself to me with a gap-toothed smirk.
Did I mention my fear of heights?
Well, I get down there, and, then, only then, yes, from there I can see that the run bends a bit as it disappears over yet another sheer cliff. So it’s not the dead end, I feared, but by then, I’m going way too fast.
This was an erroneous framing by me though. If I wasn’t so afraid, I cudda done the curve, but something in me said, “Time to lay thyself down in the fluffy stuff lest thou rocketeth off into the woods like that guy with the free-fall airplane wing-suit.”
So I topple off with the grace of a 200 pound slab of meat dropping off the back of a fleeing Mafia-jacked truck.
I slid-skid and furrowed that slope like Jean-Claude Killy taking a tumble at top speed. Only you know, not quite, in fact, not at all like that, but I do like comparing myself to him.
And he’s my age by now too! (I just looked it up and he’s a year older than me. So there; I’m not completely vanity befuddled.)
So I come to a stop, and Jessie’s laughing so hard he’s almost puking. I’d shot past him, so he saw the whole thing. He said it was an awesome crash, but that’s just what one says to an elder, right.
He gets my hat that got torn off and brings it down slope to me.
We get me brushed off, and during that tidy-up-the-elder moment, I’m looking at the next part of the run and, hey, there’s even a steeper part of this run awaiting me.
Imagine the joy that flooded my heart!
This is the point where I wish every trikker in the world was there on the sidelines cheering me onwards and to not give up.
But where were all you dudes when I needed ya?
Instead, my only motivation to get back on the Skki was to not be ashamed in front of Jessie.
So down we went, and somehow, I did it.
At the very bottom of the run, I’m all like, “Who’s Bad? Who’s Bad! Who’s cool? Piece of cake. Funzies!”
Did I mention how I try to hide my fear of heights from others ?
Ron’s there asking, “Want to go again?”
I admit my adrenals had created two gallons of adrenaline and I thought I might rest them for a spell. “Spell” — that’s elder talk for a two hour nap.
So Ron mounts up, and I’m standing there wondering if I would go again.
I knew I would.
So, I calm down enough, and twenty minutes later, I’m up for another run.
I get swept up by the lift, and this time I figured out how to rest the Skki’s weight on my non-bound-to-a-pad foot’s leg’s knee, and yay! problem solved. And I’m actually a bit confident as I exit the chair.
But, yep, in an Emeril Lagasse moment, BAM! immediately I fall over about 15 feet from the lift chair — my shoe coming off and staying with the Skki while I casually visited yet another portion of the beautiful mountain’s top.
Me: elder, one shoe, splayed on my back, others exiting the ski lift. What to do? I resorted to bellowing a hyena’s worth of laughter — trying to burn off the shame, see?
Couldn’t I just make snow angels?
But, somehow, no one’s eye-balling me, cuz, hey, just look around, there’s always someone chewing the hillside in a spritzed up cloud of snowflakes. And no youtube video of the moment either! Lucky me.
This time I made it the whole way down, including my curve-of-destiny, and I gained a bit more confidence in how well the beast responds and actually has “grip.” And on this run I’m doing my other down-hill trikking stuff, like looking over my shoulder backwards uphill to make sure I’m not swerving into someone’s path. A sign that I’m riding the Skki instead of being transported by it. Me liked.
Yet, still, even on the second run, a very scary plummeting. . . .
Oh, it’s going to take another 40 runs before I get jiggy, but I wonder if my fear of heights will ever give up complaining or if that’s what everyone else calls “thrilling!” and it’s considered a desirable dynamic of the experience.
So do I buy a Skki or not? Am I a convert or not?
If that mountain was in town instead of, you know, way over there where all the other mountains hang out, then fur shur, I’d buy one, yes, even though I now contemplate moving to warmer climes. (I’ve contemplated warmer climes for ten years now …..ahem.)
But, geeze, the driving distance is a big hump to surmount. And I live on a street that starts at the top of a hill and has seven different “downhill mile-long runs” and my Pon-e comes equipped with it’s own “ski lift” — a motor that takes me up the hills without “wrung foot.”
And, I maintain that if I’d never been on a Trikke before, and if I came down my hill’s asphalt runs as a newbie, I’d be as muchly frightened on my first efforts — seeing as it’s not happy happy joy joy snow one will have to slide on if a fall happens at 40 mph. Seems to be even a greater risk in some ways, but, then, gotta admit that all the trikkers I know that have had serious injuries — broke der bods on Skkies.
They would be Tampa Andy, Darrick Bruyn the poster boy for Trikke thuggery, and elder Douglass Weymouth. Wait, John Simpson bought the farm wearing sandals on this Pon-e, so he’s the exception. (Wait! John just emailed me about breaking his collar bone on a Skki mishap.)
Of course, they got their injuries in quite derring-do moments doing hard runs that would make my first run look to have the same risk as a toddler slowly inching down a bright yellow slide into a three foot wide plastic lawn pool bragging “Look at me, Mommy!”
Will I go again? Don’t know. Ron’s eyesight won’t let him drive, so he needs car rides to the mountains, so I can mooch off him and use his Skki, but there’s scant excuse for such beggary. I should buy one for myself instead of expecting him to stand at the bottom watching for a giant snowballed Edg surfing the wave front of an avalanche.
But hundreds of bucks for a Skki, hours of driving round trip, this has me stymied for the nonce. I’ll think on’t for certain.
Ron wants me to tell everyone he’ll let ya try out the Skki if you get him to the mountains.
So all you trikkers in Wisconsin, there’s your offer. I’m glad I took him up on it.
And, gang, let’s take our hats off and praise Ron for his efforts to get the local resorts to open up to Skki — it is a hard row to hoe with every resort’s Big Jake huffing and puffing.
Bottom line: if you love the slopes, this machine is something you have to try.