MAINE NEWSPAPERS KNOW WHATS UP.
Auburn teen creates ski slope in backyard from Colisee scrapings
By Mark LaFlamme , Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
AUBURN - It was chilly on the slope Monday, but Timmy Keene was skiing in his T-shirt, nonetheless. The snowpack was good enough to provide him several runs throughout the day, and he was still going at it into the night.
It would have been a perfectly normal scene except that the snow was in Keene's backyard on a day where temperatures had flirted with 70 degrees.
"You can feel the difference in the air. It's colder back here," the Edward Little High School junior said. "People will drive by, and then they'll stop and come back to look. It's fun to watch them."
People stop to stare, presumably, because the site of a 30-foot-long snow trail in mid-September is an odd sight even in Maine.
While listening to the radio recently, Keene heard that snow had appeared somewhere in the state. Like many skiers before him, he became anxious for the ski season still months away. But like very few of those skiers, Keene decided that if he couldn't go to the snow, he'd bring it to himself.
"I just couldn't wait," Keene said. "It's so much fun."
Keene's slope is at the end of Rowe Street. In a chilly irony, that's between Winter and Summer streets.
"Winter Street is there, Summer Street is there," he said. "Out here, it's autumn."
The first question he is typically asked about his trail is where the snow came from. It didn't come from his freezer, and there is not a freak weather system over his house. The snow is imported from the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, where mounds of it appear all the time.
"One of my friends just got a truck, and we've been loading it up to its fullest," Keene said. "We put a hundred miles on the truck over the weekend."
It took seven trips to the ice arena this past weekend and one more on Monday. By the end of the day, the snow was still hard-packed in spite of reasonably warm temperatures throughout the afternoon.
"It all depends on how cold the nights are," Keene said.
The trail consists of roughly 30 feet of snow, a third of it shoveled onto a man-made ramp built by Keene and a group of his friends.
They also constructed a platform where they start their runs and inserted a length of metal fencing they can glide across near the end of the trail.
"It took us about an hour to build," he said.
In Keene's backyard, the air feels 10 degrees cooler than it does around the corner.
There are familiar sounds of a shovel crunching into snow as he tends to his trail. The sight is a strange juxtaposition for anyone driving by with windows down after a trip to the ice cream stand.
By nightfall Monday, Keene had the slope to himself. He was shoveling and packing it down and pausing occasionally to slide on his skis and take another preseason glide down his own private hill.
"There are usually more people out here," he said. "But they all have homework to do."