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Rubberband Man snaps on snow

Ready for launch: Barry Walls (blue) begins his ride aboard the Banshee Bungee.
Ready for launch: Barry Walls (blue) begins his ride aboard the Banshee Bungee.

With considerably less tension (if you’ll pardon the pun) than accompanied historic launches of America’s missions to the moon, on Wednesday Roger Sobotka and this writer stretched a "Banshee Bungee" about 80’ from its anchor and planted its handle firmly in the hands of Barry Walls, local skier and adventurer.

After the pre-launch countdown, Sobotka and his assistant released the Bungee and Walls was on his way! The Bungee catapulted him on a wild ride that, very likely, all medium-level skiers could easily handle.

“It’s fun!” said Sobotka while preparing and watching the event. “It’s fun and truly safe.” The “snap speed” of the Banshee was easily enough to pull any skier, but far from dangerous. Walls and others enjoyed the experience.

“As with all skiing, be sure no one is in the way, no one in the ‘ride-stretch zone,’" advised Sobotka. “The Banshee can turn everybody’s backyard into a practice ski area.”

The Banshee consists of rubber strips braided into a single tether: handle on one end; carabiner on the other. Enthusiasts attach the carabiner to an anchor in the snow. Two assistants then pull the handle approximately 80’ and hand it to a third friend who is on skis and ready to launch. When the friends release their hold, the Bungee goes to work, giving the skier a moderate tug in the direction of the anchor. On Wednesday, that direction was “down the hill.”

“Backyard Bungee-ers” will need a strip of snow about 140’ long. In Southern Indiana, that might mean making virtual visits to and to gather all necessary equipment.

“It’s not a one-man deal,” said Sobotka. “Call a couple friends and make an afternoon of it.

“Yes, it also works with snowboards, waterskis at the beach, and with skateboards."

When conditions permit another exhibition of the Banshee, this Examiner will be there, video camera in hand, to capture it all for presentation here. See you then!