About six months after the employees at Powder Ridge ski area in Kimball found the lock hack-sawed off their front gate, they finally realized what had been taken -- a 27-foot snowboarding rail.
Dude! How does it take six months to notice that?
"We never dreamed someone would load up and take a rail," says owner Jerry Wahlin.[jump]
It wasn't until Wahlin and his crew were setting up the course after the first winter blizzard that they realized the enormous piece of welded steel tubing and plastic had been pilfered.
"We just couldn't really believe it," he says. "I said, 'Count everything one more time.' But it's definitely gone."
Because the rail is one continuous piece, the thieves would have had to haul it out with a trailer. Powder Ridge staff use a forklift to move it. And Wahlin seriously doubts that the buzz-killing burglars could have been planning to sell the rail for scrap, since it's made of cheap materials.
His theory? Some little jerk who wants the trick all for himself.
"It's definitely someone who would set it up and use it," he says. "Maybe Afton Alps came up and got it."
The Stearns County Sheriff's department has exhausted their leads and released details of the crime yesterday in the hopes that snowboarders in the region will report anyone they notice shredding powder a little too hard in their backyard. Powder Ridge took to their Facebook page to ask for tips, offering $200 gift cards to anyone with info. Commenters bemoaned the loss of their favorite rail.
"Looks like a beast to steal," wrote one. "Somebody has to know?"
Wahlin is pretty chill about the whole thing, believing the snowboarding Grinch will eventually invite too many buds over to try it and someone will rat them out.
"We figure somebody out there will think, 'I want that out here instead of Billy Bob having it in their backyard,'" he says. "Kids can't keep their mouths shut."