Idaho family takes windy weather to the extreme with ‘wind sledding’
Strong March winds could’ve ruined the Lerwill family’s spring break, but thanks to an old Army parachute and some innovation, these East Idahoans created a new way to have fun: wind sledding.
Ryan Lerwill, a real estate agent in Teton said his four sons were helping him clean out a warehouse when they came across the olive drab Army surplus parachute.
“They asked if they could have it as part of their pay. I agreed, and we brought it home,” Lerwill wrote in a Facebook message to the Statesman.
It didn’t take long for the kids to start innovating.
“They tied a few cords to the chute and initially started sliding across the lawn in their socks, then would fall and slide horizontally. Mom wasn’t loving the major grass stains, so then it went to cardboard. That wasn’t enough, so then snowboards — which proved dangerous,” Lerwill said.
Then came the idea that finally stuck: a toboggan. Lerwill said his oldest son, Logan, was the first boy brave enough to give it a shot.
“He not only went through our field but halfway through the neighbors’ and luckily right between two metal fence posts,” Lerwill said.
Lerwill said Logan’s friend Cooper, a cross-country runner, “was able to chase (Logan) down and stop the crazy sled.” It soon became clear that they would need a better site for their wind sledding. Lerwill found it in a friend’s nearby sod farm at Teton Turf.
Lerwill said his boys, their cousin and friend Cooper spent spring break sliding across the open land. He shot video of some of their runs, garnering hundreds of views on YouTube of their “pure Idaho boy logic!”
In the videos, the boys take turns sledding behind the massive parachute, while the rest of the group races alongside in an ATV as fast as 20 mph, preparing to help stop the sled if things get too crazy. So how does one stop a runaway wind-driven sled? With a dog-pile of boys, apparently.
“The rest is YouTube history,” Lerwill said. “I have not laughed that hard in a long time....it was so much fun!”