Sioux Falls, SD
Two Sioux Falls middle school students have borrowed technology from the ski slopes to bring winter into their backyard.
Patrick Henry Middle Schoolers Ben Schilling and Ross Weisbecker ramped-up their snowboarding smarts to pursue their passion even when the elements don't cooperate.
"It's weird because you put all of your stuff on and you realize it's too hot wearing all the stuff," Ben said.
The 8th graders built a snowboarding course in Ross' backyard, including a six-foot ramp made from fencing.
Our intrepid young snowboarders spent the hot, dry summer building a half-pipe in the yard. But, the forecast doesn't say anything about snow.
"It's great because there hasn't been any snow this year besides that one time in October and we decided just to make our own," Ross said.
Ben and Ross went online to figure out how to build their own snowmaking machine.
"I was looking on the Internet one night, found a little thing that you can make, air compressor, power washer and little pipe fittings and put it together," Ben said.
"And then you have to have all the power and stuff like that because we've blown a couple of fuses," Ross said.
If it's warmer than 27 degrees, then all you get is slush.
"It's only been cold enough a couple of nights, that's the only few nights we've got to make snow," Ben said.
But Ben and Ross have a good base to slide by.
"It's not as good as real snow obviously, but it works fine," Ben said.
Their parents are impressed with the teens' snow-how.
"I'm really blown away that these two, a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old came up with the idea," Rachel Weisbecker said.
But Weisbecker is concerned about her water bill.
"I'm a little nervous about that. I guess it's not going to be much more than say, watering the yard or watering the garden in the summer, I'm hoping. I don't know, it could be really bad," Rachel said.
While it may take a "slush fund" to pay for this home-grown snow, a snowboarding blizzard that comes from the faucet can be a real pipe dream.
"That's what I love about this, there's no shoveling," Rachel said.
Ben's and Ross' parents say they'd rather see their kids be the outdoor innovators that they are, rather than being cooped-up indoors playing computer games.