Schoenecker's Shenanigans: The Annual Ice Luge - My own version of “Cool Runnings”

Jarrod Schoenecker

When I was a young boy into my preteen years, I loved the outdoors. Dirt, mud, sand, rocks, snow, water, and sludge were all my friends. I also had a lot of time on my hands to explore, a luxury of little responsibility and a product of being born in the very early 1980’s where you were sent outside until it was dark.

It should come as no surprise that a boy with those ambitions would take on the task of making my own ice luge. I know “Cool Runnings” was a popular movie, coming out in 1993. I, however, didn’t get inspired by it.

I was inspired by watching the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympic Games. Seeing people climbing on small sleds and barreling down on long, human-created ice luges at break-neck speeds was exciting and cool.

Here’s the dilemma though: I live in the middle of Minnesota on a generally flat piece of land. Where am I going to find a hill that’s big enough to do anything like that within a quarter mile of my house?!

The more slightly-angled hills were never any good for sledding and certainly not steep enough for an ice luge. How does one create an ice luge? I didn’t have the slightest idea. It’s just compact frozen water, right?

Enter the watering can and our septic mound! It was the steepest hill around and it was also close enough to the house that I could go back and forth with the watering can.

Day-in and day-out for two-to-three weeks I worked on my ice luge after school. I would start out with shoveling snow to make a u-shaped path down the hill and, at the bottom, a jump. A jump is OBVIOUSLY NECESSARY!

Once I had the base formed, it was time to water it. Back-and-forth, back-and-forth I went with the watering can. Usually, I would have to keep having to add snow every day and repeat the process.

Sometime in that two-to-three week time-frame, I had an ice luge. It wasn’t full of twists and turns and it was only a fraction of the size, but it was in my backyard and I played the heck out of it! Over and over again. Up-down. Up-down. Wheee!

Year-after-year this was tradition and every year getting a little more refined.

Some of my nephews were old enough to enjoy this tradition in my later years when I was a preteen boy. When they would visit, they marveled at my creation while enjoying it with me. It was my annual masterpiece.

Now, let me remind you that I live in the country. I have no idea what the water bill would have been in the city for such a thing.

I’m actually quite puzzled as to why my dad never said anything to me about it or made me stop doing it. There are not a lot of things a kid could ever get away with like that in front of him, especially when it was wasting water and wasting gas for heating, because of going in and out of the door!

I don’t recall my father ever harping on me... Pick up the March 9 edition of the Montgomery Messenger to continue reading. Subscribe online at Digital subscription included.


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