Ski All Season On Grass

Greg Limeberry

Grass Skiing

Alpine skiing depends on hills and snow, at least according to conventional thinking. Not for Brian McKay, The Columbian reports, who has been trying to get extreme sports enthusiast on board with his niche sport of grass skiing.

Grass skiing is precisely what it sounds like. Exiting the slalom gates, carving your way down hill, just on grass and not snow. It makes for an exciting ride down, and often a rough landing.

“It’s just like sliding into home plate,” McKay says. “No big deal.”

Believe it or not, grass skiing is not a new idea. It was actually developed in the 1960s when competitive snow-skiers in Germany were looking for a summer training regimen. Some folks picked up on the idea in Europe and it made its way to the US east coast and eventually was introduced to crowds in San Francisco in the late 1970s.

Obviously it never really took off, but there are loyalist like McKay who like to take out their poles and grass skis – short runners with wheeled treads on traditional downhill skiing boots. McKay says that he is willing to take any other extreme-sports enthusiasts out for a test run if they find themselves in Southern Oregon looking for something different to do.

“I want some ski buddies,” McKay says.

Snow skiers can have a difficult time mastering grass skiing because there is no gliding or sliding to speak off. The skis must carve and they leave no trace in the grass. Also, it can be very difficult to regulate your speed.

“You just go faster and faster until you run out of hill or reach terminal speed,” McKay says. Though he would insist that its that kind of risk that makes it fun.

Learn more about grass skiing in The Columbian.