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the snowball

Written by Robert Gann, Edited by Hallana Beck

Years ago, on a beautiful spring morning at the top of a ski run called Cat’s Meow at Loveland Basin in Colorado, I picked up a handful of fresh snow. Eight inches of fresh snow had fallen overnight. I made a snowball and dropped it between my skies. The snowball disappeared sinking into the fresh snow below. Nothing happened as I grinned and thought that the stories about giant snowballs crashing down mountains were just stories. Then, to my surprise, the snow a few feet in front of my skies opened up and that snowball popped out. It was double in size and moving downhill. I watched curiously until it was the size of a basketball and moving faster downhill. 

In a panic I realized that I needed to stop this thing now. I pushed off hard and chased it. I gained ground on it getting within inches from the tips of my skies and then that snowball began to outrun me. In a panic, I leapt for it reaching out with my hands to tackle it. I felt it with my fingertips as I crashed face first into the snow. I pushed myself up with my arms and watched my snowball disappear down the hill. I got up as fast as I could and renewed the chase. Only seconds later it was 20 yards ahead of me and four feet in diameter. Below I spotted two other skiers. I shouted a warning. The skier closest to me turned and nearly fell down when he saw what was happening. We both began to shout a warning to the skier further down slope. He didn’t hear us shouting but he did hear the snowball and it stopped him dead in his tracks. 

The snowball was hurtling downhill, getting bigger at a crazy pace and it was making a lot of noise. The sound was deep and menacing. When it reached the bottom of the hill it was nearly 20 feet in diameter traveling 60 maybe 70 mph. It raced across a large flat meadow toward a beginner hill next to the lodge. It ran halfway up the beginner hill to a momentary stop and then rolled back down to a stop. You can imagine my relief as I watched and saw that nobody was killed or injured. Within minutes a large crowd had gathered around my snowball. I sheepishly joined them saying nothing about its origins. It made the news and became a tourist attraction until the ski patrol drilled and set charges and blew it up. I wish I could have been there for that. 

Why the snowball story?

The Art Farm has been set in motion. Will it snowball? I can’t answer that question yet, but, if it does it will surely be a wonderful wild ride. 

To be continued . . . .

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