My parents have always been the biggest supporters of my skiing. Last winter, my father found a few pieces of curved PVC piping at our town dump. He immediately brought them home and saved them for me for the next time I visited.
"I found you some piping to use for more rails in the backyard," he told me.
"Thanks, Dad, but I don't live here anymore," I said. "I live 2,000 miles away in Utah."
Six months passed, with the pipes leaning up on the side of my parents' house. But then this fall I drove from Utah to the International Freeski Film Festival in Montreal and stopped at my parents' house in New York state. I ended up bringing the pipes back with me to Utah. The rest is history, as you can see in this latest episode of Line Traveling Circus.
In almost every year of Traveling Circus, homemade PVC rails are part of our early season. Snow starts falling high in the mountains long before any resorts open and it's a great way to warm up before the winter really gets going. While we've tried to make more unique and difficult features each year, the PVC pipe tradition began long before TC was started.
Homemade PVC rails have always been a part of skiing for me. Andy Parry and I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of western New York with no real mountains to work with, but we were fortunate enough to have a ski area 30 minutes away.
In what may have been a mixed blessing, our ski area's terrain park never lived up to our needs and always left us wanting more. Our solution was taking matters into our own hands by building features in our backyards. While building your own features is much more work than going to your local hill, it's also arguably more satisfying. It allows you to customize features to your needs and ability, allowing you to progress faster.