Backyard blizzard in the Secret City

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

OAK RIDGE (WVLT) -- Not a single snowflake fell over Anderson County on Sunday, but that didn't stop a mini-ski slope from opening in one family's backyard.

"It's all green everywhere, but it's white in this yard," said Blake Clowers, 9, who finally got a chance to try out his snowboard.

The powdery white stuff behind the Secret City backyard blizzard did not come from passing clouds.

Instead it was provided by a show maker, similar to the ones used on real ski slopes and purchased by three dads.

"My kids kept saying, ‘we never get any snow, we never get any snow,’” said Will Robinson, one of the dads. “So I called my friend William, and said, ‘hey we can get a snow machine?’ He's as much of a kid as I am, so he said ‘sounds just great’ and ‘I'm in for half.’"

That’s where the third father came in.

When the weekend temperatures dropped, it was on to Matt Atkinson’s back yard, and his 100-foot hill.

"I think it's better than Gatlinburg because we've got jumps and grinds and stuff," said Blake.

But the snow making didn’t get accomplished without at least one big problem.

"It got so cold that our equipment started freezing up,” said William Clowers, “so we had to wrap them in hot towels."

Finally after 18 hours of snow production, the hill was covered with three inches of snow.

And the cool new toy belonging to three fathers had brought out the kid in everyone.

“This is what life's about,” said Robinson, “making good memories with good friends."

The families bought the snow machine on the Internet for around $500.

To start making snow all they needed to do was hook it up to an air compressor and pressure washer.

All three families said if the electric and water bills run too high, they'll share the cost, just like they have shared in the fun.

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