I can't remember if I ever posted this. I wrote this back during the first Seven Years Winter that was formally celebrated. GLAD to RIDE.
Taken from, "Danger in the Hills, The History of Sledding in Orwell" author unknown, the following passage briefly describes a portion of the last seven years winter.
"The winter of '94 brought some the best sledding conditions Orwell had seen in years. People were pulling off lines no one had ever dreamed possible, lines that have not been attempted since. The advent of more technical equipment in conjunction with the splendid conditions had brought the overall level of sledding in Orwell to heights unheard of.
At this point there were three factions to the Orwell sledding community, the jumpers, the steepers, and the pullers. The latter of the three was headed by a group of young men hailing from nearby Benson: William Tyler, Corey Flynn, and Brian Munger. To call these men anything other than innovators would be an injustice. With a reckless flare seldom seen prior, they pioneered such great runs as high speed slightly intoxicated sledding behind car prone to roll over many times and hit guardrail and all terrain sledding behind not quite legal Jeep type vehicle. They had found a niche in the Orwell community through many such exploits on the northern portion of Old Stage Road.
The steepers and jumpers were based mainly out of the Beck reserve. For years, people had enjoyed the lower angle, gentle terrain of the front "40", but with the expanse of snow came a general push into the back bowls. With the steepers moving off the front "40", an opportunity arose for the jumpers and soon an Olympic quality jumping facility had been erected. Such jumping greats as Matt Jensen and Matt Kent could be seen on a warm sunny day pushing the envelope on the distance jump and freestyle jump. It was off the freestyle jump that Matt Kent suffered the now famous barrel roll back injury that many feel caused the early demise of the St. Paul's CYO team in the '94 tournament.
The frequent storms had filled in a few of the more frightening chutes of the back bowls, and were eyed on an almost daily basis by the steepers. Seth Beck had grown up on the Beck reserve and with sister, Carrie Beck, had pioneered many of the more remote runs on the reserve. Finally after years of anticipation, there was enough snow to negotiate the steep angles of the bowls and with little hesitation they slid the Mangler, known as such for the barbed wire fence that mangled those who foolishly attempted the run in years of lesser snow.
Of course the winter brought frequent competitions and carnivals, generally held in far off Bomoseen. A well known venue in the small world of competitive sledding, the "golf course" was indicative of large crowds and fierce competitors. It was here that Mike Stannard made his name in the sledding world, coupling an interesting cider concoction with a progressive style all his own. In years following, Mike would often be found in the back bowls of the Beck reserve alongside the aforementioned local sledders, an adopted big city member of the tight knit community."
IT IS impossible to forecast how important any presidency will be. Back in 2000 America stood tall as the undisputed superpower, at peace with a generally admiring world. The main argument was over what to do with the federal government’s huge budget surplus. Nobody foresaw the seismic events of the next eight years. When Americans go to the polls next week the mood will be very different. The United States is unhappy, divided and foundering both at home and abroad. Its self-belief and values are under attack.
For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.
Yet there are also longer-term challenges, worth stressing if only because they have been so ignored on the campaign. Jump forward to 2017, when the next president will hope to relinquish office. A combination of demography and the rising costs of America’s huge entitlement programmes—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—will be starting to bankrupt the country. Abroad a greater task is already evident: welding the new emerging powers to the West. That is not just a matter of handling the rise of India and China, drawing them into global efforts, such as curbs on climate change; it means reselling economic and political freedom to a world that too quickly associates American capitalism with Lehman Brothers and American justice with Guantánamo Bay. This will take patience, fortitude, salesmanship and strategy.