Entrants in the annual Krazy Downhill Derby held Feb. 22, Annine Everson and her children Addye and River of Albany ride down Dynamite Hill ski slope on the back of their homemade sled they crafted to resemble cartoon character ‘Woodstock,’ a Mario Brother. Photo by Brandon Himoff
An oblong, metallic-hued craft with a periscope and a tail-fin meandered down Dynamite Hill ski slope Saturday mid-day and halted.
A hatch door opened at out crawled Paul Matson, an employee of Garnet Signs, his young son Mace, and Ed Orr, owner of the Johnsburg enterprise.
“This is unquestionably high-tech,” Orr said, demonstrating its working periscope made out of cardboard tubing and two make-up mirrors.
“You might say it’s like 20,000 leagues under the snow,” Matson quipped about the submarine replica, complete with mock rivets, that slid on steerable skis down the hill as a contestant in Chestertown’s annual Krazy Downhill Derby sled race. In prior years, Orr and Matson have built a locomotive and caboose, and another year an Edsel auto wannabe titled “The Sledsel” — and they’ve driven them down the slope.
They pushed their submarine craft out of the way as another creation headed downhill — an antique sled replica, piloted by three local Boy Scouts, that looked as if it was ready to be hauled across Alaska by sled dogs.
One of the scouts, Andy Harpp, tumbled off the sled they named “Old Betsy,” and the other two, Justin Harpp and Jacob Smit responded with wisecracks as they continued downhill, coming to a halt as they, too, ended up in the snow, laughing.
Not far behind, another curious creation meandered downhill. It was a sled handcrafted to resemble the Mario Brother “Woodstock,” spread-eagled with his arms flailing in the air. Riding on Woodstock’s back down the slope were youngsters Addye and River Everson, along with their mother Annine Everson of Albany. She and her children had made the character sled out of hundreds of compacted plastic shopping bags, duct tape and wire hangers. A long-time annual contestant in the bizarre race, Everson has in prior years handcrafted a purple unicorn, a mermaid, a fire-breathing winged dragon, and a portly penguin for the sled race. Without a doubt, her experience as a paper mache artist has been useful in her endeavors.
Nearby, Rotary Club members John MacMillen and Craig Leggett pulled their yellow-and-gold “Rotary Rocket” sled out of the way.
The rode the contraption, complete with Harley handlebars and oak handrails down the hill, yelling and waving their arms as the crowd cheered. The craft was sponsored by the Chestertown Rotary Club — the first time in recent history the group has competed in the town’s signature event.
“This is appropriate for the Rotary club, considering we’re a big part of the community,” MacMillen said.
Earlier in the day, the Rotarians sponsored a free breakfast, cooked up by Steve Caunter of Hemlock Ledge Restaurant.
Another craft evoking cheers was Eric Isachsen and son Sten riding their homemade version of an antique ice truck, named “Ice Ax Sun.” In prior years, they’ve crafted a two-story house as well as a mock Viking ship to ride downhill.
Watching the sled race, Eugene Dutcher grilled up hot dogs on the porch of the town ski lodge. His wife Judy Dutcher was announcing the race entries, peppering her banter with humorous jibes.
Greeting dozens of people inside the lodge was new Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson. He was joined earlier by state Sen. Betty Little, Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe and North Warren Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Thomas in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Dynamite Hill, which was developed into a ski slope in 1962. This observance was complete with a celebratory cake and local natives sharing memories of long days of carefree winter recreation on the ski slope.
The anniversary celebration, Simpson explained, was held up two years for the completion of the Caroline Fish Nature & Cross-Country Ski Trails that meander through the Dynamite Hill property.
“This facility is a gem,” he said, noting that his wife Judy and his teenage children Matthew and Sarah all learned how to ski on Dynamite Hill.
“This place has for generations been a big part of community life here,” he added, pledging that next year, the town of Horicon was going to sponsor its own creative sled.