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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sometimes you win. Sometimes you “sledge”. But in the town of Hastings, winning is lugging around. Especially when Paul Swanstrom, 78, gets involved.

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A morning spent at the Swanstrom residence is a morning full of twists and turns.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Julia Viktora-Croke, Hastings. “It’s faster and it’s tight corners, so it’s harder to stay.”

Kids who are used to straight sledding and downhill now learn to have old-fashioned fun with a touch of fast pacing. And all thanks to former science professor Paul Swanstrom.

“I did these things before we even heard of sledding,” Paul said.

In the early 1970s, Paul decided to create a sort of “snow slide” for his son. What he thought was a one-time deal turned into decades of sledding refinement.

“It’s mostly trial and error,” said Paul. “I need at least 40 hours before I can go the first time.”

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He needs Mother Nature and Old Man Winter to bring him the right amount of snow and the right temperatures.

Over the course of several days, he will pick up snow from his street and driveway and pile it up from his front yard to his back yard – 200 feet to be exact. There are four different banks some of which reach 4 feet. Then he’ll water it all down for those who need speed.

Still a teacher, Paul even takes the time to educate on form and technique.

“In town, in Hastings, it’s nice to have someone who will do this and invite anyone in town to come and enjoy it, especially for free,” said Casey Hedeen, who is trying out the toboggan for the first time. times.

Paul takes it one day at a time and one winter at a time. This year, because of Covid, he wanted to give people something fun to do. And as long as they avoid the tree at the end, the mission is accomplished.

So what does he hope people will get out of it?

“Fun. Fun and memories,” he said. “This is where I’m having fun right now.”

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As the weather has not always cooperated, Paul estimates that he has built between 25 and 30 sleds over the years.


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