You don't need a huge hill to create slope-style thrills in your own backyard. With some skillful snowblowing and an inventive reuse of materials, Williston's Paul Bialowoz turns his family's yard into a snowsport destination for his three kids and their neighborhood friends.
Bialowoz recently transformed his slightly downhill plot by adding two rails, a sizable jump and a landscaped curve for high-speed cornering.
He blows most of the snow from the front yard onto a skateboard quarter-pipe ramp to form a drop-in, which creates vertical distance and speed. He blows the rest of the available snow onto a main sliding surface featuring fun additions, such as an arched homemade rail that's perfect for grinding — even on a sled.
And it's cheaper than a season pass. "Almost everything here is either made from pieces of scrap or purchased real cheap off Craigslist," he says. "Anyone can do it."
- Two 55-gallon rain barrels covered in snow form the base of the jump.
- Plywood covered with a strip of plastic pickup-truck-bed liner makes a homemade grinding rail.
- Skinny wooden pallets make handy access ladders for the drop-in.
- Rails and sharp corners are surrounded by smooth snow walls for safety.
- A mix of sleds, ski bikes, snowdecks, snowboards and snow scooters — thriftily collected and sometimes homemade — add variety.