Visit Reed, OK and Ski the Quartz Mountains!
Ahhh, January is here once again! Snow bunnies are turning their minds towards the ski reports streaming out of Colorado and beyond; the snow birds have flown south for warmer climes. Alas, but not everyone can escape the ever-changing weather of an Oklahoma winter, so the rest of us make do with what we have at our disposal.
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, DO NOT TRY IT IN THE QUARTS MTNS,
AND FOR SURE DON’T TRY IT ON A RED DIRT ROAD!!
The following story is true, but some names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent.
The opportunity for snow fun is a rare event in Southwestern Oklahoma, a place better known for F-3 (and above) tornadoes and hot, dry summers. Once every five to ten years, though, Oklahoma is blessed with several inches of snow, sometimes all in the same snow storm. The winter of 1978 was one of those extremely rare winters when snow covered the ground for several weeks, rather than the normal “if you slept in, you missed it” few hours of snow cover.
What happens when you mix about 5-10” of snow with some small town/farm raised college guys and two sisters from the big city of Altus? A ski trip to the Quartz Mountains, of course!
Duane was a farmer/rancher, living on a large spread of land in Greer County near Reed, Oklahoma. The ranch included a private, red dirt road, complete with slopes just right for sledding, skiing, and other winter fun. He provided the setting for this adventure, along with a few instruments of fun, one being an old car hood. Turned upside down, it makes a great toboggan, especially when combined with a rope and a pickup to pull it up the hills.
Randy, Duane’s nephew, went by a ski rental shop in Weatherford to rent a pair of snow skis for the weekend. The plan was working quite well until the clerk asked him where he was headed. When he mentioned the Quartz Mountains, the clerk ended the transaction immediately with a terse comment along the lines of “Sorry, Pardner, these skis are only for real slopes, like what you’d find at Taos or Breckenridge, not some little ol’ pile of rocks outside of Reed!”
Wes came up with the bright idea of using old water skis. “After all, they are both skis,” he offered, “there can’t be too much difference between the two.” Wes and Randy raided the stash of old skis their parents had with their respective ski boats. They brought along a couple of pairs to the Reed Ski Slopes.
Sam brought along a sled and the two sisters, Ruthie and Sara. The six-pack gathered one snowy January afternoon for some fun on the red dirt ski slopes of suburban Reed. Duane drove over in his pickup, which doubled as a ski-lift and sled launcher. Wes and Randy figured out after the first downhill run that water skis were slightly different than snow skis. After a few modifications, the skis did finally work, sort of.
Everyone tried the downhill skiing at least once, with the guys doing it several times. The sisters decided the sleds were more fun, especially when they got to ride up one hill and down the next with one of the guys steering. Duane used his pickup to pull the sleds, skiers and hoods up the hill. Just as he crested the hill, he would veer off to the right as we went flying over the top and down the other side. The gang is still divided on which was more fun – an authentic sled or an old car hood. Those car hoods had a mind of their own, and no steering mechanism, thus making them great for trying out the latest in physics experiments.
This group of red dirt skiers had a great time that afternoon, spending several hours enjoying the adventures of skiing, hooding, and sledding down the Reed slopes. The only injury came on a sled ride when it went off the road and into a shallow ditch. The sled driver hung on and landed safely. Sara tried to go in two different directions and found out that did not work very well. End result was a bruised ego and a sore knee that would go on to become a great predictor of weather changes.
Thank you for sledding along on this adventure on a snow-covered red dirt road! Hope to see you again next month for yet another dose of red dirt therapy.
May God bless you greatly in 2012!
Ruth Ann Hoover,
Sammy & Bonnie Parker,