January 30, 2008 in Idaho

Extra snow? Tubing hill needs 150 truckloads

By The Spokesman-Review
Kathy Plonka photo

“Isn’t this just a beautiful day?” said Tony Masur, of Peck & Peck Excavating of Post Falls, as he prepared to move more snow at Kootenai County Fairgrounds on Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

Most of us have too much snow.

Not Mike Ong, who is accepting donations of compact snow by the truckload to build a tubing hill at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

The 150-foot-long hill, modeled after two half-pipes, will be one of the attractions at the upcoming North Idaho Winter Festival in Coeur d’Alene, scheduled for Feb. 8-10.

“We needed more than we could scrape off the ground,” said Ong, who works for Community Shopper, the festival’s organizer. So when snow started falling in earnest Saturday afternoon, it was “an answer to prayer,” he said.

An excavating company has used 250 truckloads of snow to shape the first 75 feet of the hill. On Tuesday morning, Ong figured that the tubing hill still needed about 150 truckloads.

He’s finding grateful donors among the fleet of private snowplows that clear parking lots.

On-site Excavating of Rathdrum donated 100 truckloads of snow from a Safeway parking lot earlier this month. Operations Manager Bob Lowry had more snow to bring by.

“I’ve got about 300 loads to dump from the Silver Lake Mall and I’ve got Red Lobster and a realty parking lot still to do,” Lowry said.

Greg Peck, another operator, is donating snow and excavating expertise to shape the hill, which will be about 35 feet high with two lanes.

The hill won’t be quite as steep as Coeur d’Alene’s Cherry Hill, which is a designated sledding area, Ong said.

“We’re trying to keep it friendly for kids, but still fun,” he said.

Ong expects about 15,000 people at the North Idaho Winter Festival, which is a fundraiser for United Way of Kootenai County and area food banks. Les Schwab is donating inner tubes for the hill.

Ong said he’s eager to try out the tubing hill.

“Our riding it will be part of the grooming process,” he said. “Once they’ve got it in the general shape, we’ll grab some hand tools and inner tubes and make a day of it.”

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