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1979: Grass skiing comes to the Midwest

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Jun 27, 2024

MARTINSVILLE — While some reporters might be hesitant to try a new activity like grass skiing, former WRTV consumer reporter Barbara Boyd proved she was up to the challenge in June 1979.

Dubbed the, "thrill without the chill,” backers of grass skiing said the sport was a snow skier's dream come true and allowed enthusiasts to ski year-round.

Boyd met with veteran skier John Woods and grass ski distributor Ron Wierks at Martinsville City Park. After a brief demonstration, the pair had Boyd booted up in no time. Boyd was told to keep her head up, bend her knees and stay relaxed before giving grass skiing a go.

Boyd described her trip as, “really fun,” but “different.”

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The skis were different too. Instead of a flat, smooth surface, grass skis relied on a series of moving parts to help propel riders down a hill.

“It does not damage the grass because the momentum of the ski is in the ski itself,” Wierks said. “It rotates in a fashion that keeps all of the actual weight in the ski.”

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When it came time to descend a bigger hill, Boyd instead opted for a less daunting slope.