Wisconsin ski area owner Don McKay says he feels a little like Ray Kinsella, the guy Kevin Costner played in the movie Field of Dreams. He was into "Build it, and they will come."
"I had planned on holding a rail jam at Tyrol Basin last April after the winter sports season ended; like we've done several times over the last 20 years," McKay told OnTheSnow.com. "We stockpile the snow at the end of the season and put it under tarps and hay to preserve as best we can. It normally works pretty well if we have a good snow year. We've even held the event in May a few times."
The problem was that it warmed up a little earlier than normal at the end of last season. They tried to preserve some snow. However, it wasn't the quality or quantity McKay had worked with in the past.
He decided not to hold the event.
"I couldn't believe how many disappointed snowboarders and twin-tippers I was hearing from; all the way from California," he said. "It was a major disappointment to many who had planned on coming for the weekend we had scheduled it. I was kind of in awe."
So McKay decided he would take what snow they had and do with it what he could.
"We were able to move enough snow to put up some rails and jumps. It wasn't great and not the quality I would have liked. E-mails were sent out that we would try and hold something on snow and no charges to come out and play. There was enough snow, with reworking it on Saturday night to limp through the weekend," he explained. "We didn't run any lifts, and they walked up the hill."
Close to 200 hundred snow sports enthusiasts showed up that first day and another 75 or 80 came back on Sunday, according to McKay.
"It made me a believer," laughed the longtime ski area owner.
Snowboarders are a loyal bunch to their sport of choice. Shoeless Joe would have been proud.