It’s no secret that Red Bull has become one of the most recognized and influential brands in the world. Once just an energy drink, Red Bull is now well known for their video production company, Red Bull Media House as well as their professional sporting events like Red Bull Rampage, Crashed Ice and GRC (Global Rally Cross). Red Bull has also become pretty well known for the Flugtag (German for “Flight Day”) where non-professional participants build a non-powered flying craft and compete for the most creativity, showmanship and flight distance. Well, now imagine that same concept but on snow, sliding down a hill on a homemade sled and change the name to Schlittentag or “Sled Day.” That is exactly what my good friend Asit Rathod the unofficial “President of Pow” signed me and our friend Shawn Hokkanen from ON3P Skis up for at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl.
Once I figured out that my spring travel schedule would even allow me to participant with the rest of the gang, the question was, “What is our theme?!” Well, the inspiration for our sled and team theme would come from Shawn and his amazing spring cat skiing attire from our Next Adventure sponsored Anthony Lakes Cat Skiing trip in February. If you’ve never seen a six foot plus tall man in women's rainbow, T-Rex and unicorn tights with a Hawaiian floral Patagonia fleece and long, flowing, golden hair, then stop by the ON3P factory on any given day and ask for Shawn. With the theme decided, the three of us put our heads together and decided an an old Roman style ski chariot powered by, you guessed it, a T-Rex and unicorn, commanded by “The Hokk” himself in his tights and fleece. While that may not sound very creative, it fit us and was right up our alley.
With all of our schedules drastically different from one another, we would have to divvy up the responsibilities and act independently until the last couple days before the event. I would gather the supplies and construct the overall design of the sled, Shawn would acquire skis from ON3P and mount them while Asit would be our marketing guy, gathering and spreading the word for support on race day. My son Cody was left up to the ultimate design and mock up that we would send to Red Bull for approval while I figured out the dimensions, headed to the hardware store and began cutting, drilling and painting my way to perfection. I have to say working with my son on this design was pretty darn fun! The sled would wind up sitting in the garage for a week while I was in France having WAY too much fun. Once I arrived back, it was unpack my bags, repack them, load the sled in the truck and head south to Portland and the ON3P factory to mount the skis! Shawn had taken the liberty of putting a set of Steeple’s and Billy Goat’s in the hot box for a couple days to ensure lighting fast sliding! After a bit of measuring, a little beer drinking and some clowning around in front of the camera wielded by GoPro genius Kyle Ohlson, the “Good Time Guys” chariot sled was ready to go!!!
The next morning came WAY early and we dusted off the sleep cobwebs with a breakfast burrito wrap from one of my favorite Mt. Hood eateries, Wraptitude. If you’ve never heard of it or eaten there, shame on you. It’s amazing!!! And there really aren’t many things I would rather have before or after a day on the mountain than a huge wrap from them. But I digress… We arrived at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl bright and early and claimed a group of parking spots front and center and started the tailgate, at 8:30 am. After high getting into costume, getting our sled in line, signing waivers and high giving our ever growing fan base, we settled in and started totally geeking out with the droves of cameras buzzing around the ski hill. Finally, after consuming a ton of cheese and crackers, way too many Red Bulls and skiing a few laps around the mountain, it was finally time to make our way to the top of the course and get this party started!
Once up top, we feverishly worked on pumping up the crowd for the first few participants. Man, it is A LOT of fun getting people fired up! Strangely enough, the vide at the start line was pretty tense. While not that steep and with only a couple rollers on the entire course, everyone was doing a little pacing and little high-browed sighing. Things were definitely getting real! The first few teams sent it with great success. It was so much fun interacting with the other crews and getting everyone fired up about being fired up! The tension began to ease with ever successful team sliding to the finish line in one piece; but now it was our turn! Asit and I as unicorn and T-Rex respectively took our places at the front of the sled with our fearless charioteer in the rear with reigns (climbing rope) in hand. We got the go ahead from the event MC and off we went! We quickly accelerated down the slope and almost
immediately began sliding to the left berm of the course. It turns out that the awesome de-tuning job that Shawn did on the sled and the weight discrepancy between Asit and I up front was underestimated by my intensely calculated application of physics (for which I received a “C” in college) for the sled design. We would slam into the left berm and I would be catapulted in the air and across half of the course and come crashing down. While the rest of the crew also ejected and the crowd simultaneously cheered and jeered, we jumped up, fist pumped, turned the sled back over, hopped on and started sliding again down the course to victory!!!! Ok, all was true of that last statement. In fact, we would begin sliding again very quickly and once again slide left into the berm at the second roller. We ejected Asit and slid down to the finish with our little T-Rex and unicorn tails between our legs.
While not even close to a competing time, not nearly as creative and calculated in design as many of the other teams, I would have to say that we most certainly were in the running for most fun had and bar-none had the biggest, loudest, proudest and most dedicated fan base! Nearly two dozen friends, family and co-workers from all over the Pacific Northwest, the tailgate and good times flowed until the sun sat low on the horizon. While some continued on to the Red Bull after-after party and some stayed for some awesome spring night skiing, the rest of us pointed our azimuths in our respective homeward bound direction and returned to our families. Which is a bit strange to say, since we had just spent the day with our family. Our mountain family.