Last Saturday, as snow began to fall and temperatures hovered just above a goose egg, I drove out to Buena Vista Ski Area to take some photos.
This one made the front page of Sunday’s Pioneer, but there were plenty to choose from. My trek to the hill where this group of snowboarders, ranging in age from 14 to 21, took place on the back of a snowmobile. Naturally.
The man you see there in the floppy-eared hat is 42-year-old Dan Marken who, for the past decade, has been the lift manager at Buena Vista. When he’s not tending the lift, Marken makes trips down the man-made mountain – just not on a snowboard.
“Oh, I can get down a hill, but I’ve got more civilized tools at my disposal,” Marken said. His first attempt at snowboarding ended in fiery fashion. “It went straight into the furnace in two pieces. I burned it.”
Alex Erickson, a 21-year-old Bemidji State student was the oldest of the group at Buena Vista Saturday. They were there to practice for Sunday’s Beaver Bash competition, and the near sub-zero temperatures were not a welcome addition.
“It hurts a lot more when you fall,” Erickson said.
Although, it probably just hurts in general when you fall from 20 feet in the air. A young man’s game, this.
Jesse Schoneberger, 17, of Bemidji.
Simon Peters, 17, of Bemidji.
Dylan Tillemans, 17, of Bemidji.
One more of Erickson, defying gravity and the aging process on a Minnesota mountainside.