The construction of the Slopeside Beer Tube Storage is relatively simple: It’s a basic downspout pipe from Home Depot buried in the snow and stocked with beer. Inside the bottom of the tube is a smaller cap tethered to a nylon cord. When the cord is pulled from the top, all the drinks slide upward to your hand. (Officially it’s been dubbed it the Mountain Pop 3000.)
Maintain the top of the tube. If too much snow and ice tumble inside the tube, you can jam your beers and have a hard time getting them free. At worst, you’ll have to retrieve them later in the spring.
The Materials: 10 feet downspout from Home Depot. If you bury the full length, consider adding a second disk at the midpoint so you’re not lifting 10 feet of beer. Add slack line from the mid-point disk to the bottom disk. This allows you to pull the first five feet of beer until the slack is used, and then you pull up the second five feet. The whole setup will cost you between $10 and $15.
Down spout piping with end caps and pieces to join the sections on the mountain (you’ll have to cut the initial 10 feet into shorter lengths to manage getting it on the lift or in the gondola).
This is the key to making it work. Tether a nylon cord to an end cap that is smaller in diameter than the tube. Although a flattened can is all we used in the prototype. Smooth edges and some height keep it from trying to flip inside and jamming.
After a few early season dumps, pick an easily accessible slope and bring your shovel. Piece the tube together and mark your trench. (No need to glue; pressure-fitting works fine. Make sure to attach the end cap.)
Start digging. Bury the tube on an angle within the snow bank. More snow insulates your drinks from the much colder air, and come spring it’ll still be covered. Backfill the tube with snow.
Tie the sling of the base piece to your draw line. Be sure it’s right. If this knot fails, you’re done and you’re not getting your beer.
(This happened and I had to dig a pit to the base of the tube in order to pop the end-cap and retrieve the beer from the bottom.)
Cans are more durable and you’ll pack in more. Cans are roughly five inches, so you’ll perfectly fit 24 in a 10-foot tube (120 inches). Bottles are about 9 inches.
If you use bottles, consider alternating with cans. If you get a jam and tug to dislodge, the neck of a lower bottle can break the base of the one above.
Maintenance at the mouth of the tube is challenging, especially after a good storm. Keeping it clear of snow and ice is easier with an oversized cap.
The outer cap helps reduce tube-jamming snow and ice that could fall inside when you retrieve a beer. Also, notice the cord tethered to a nearby branch. This directs you to the top of the tube after a storm.
Project completed: Draw your mountain-chilled beer from the snowbank.
Hint: Stash at least two tubes: One to show all your friends—who will drink all your good beer—and one private members only stash.
Will it freeze? I’ve only had a few slushy beers. If the tube is buried correctly, the snow is an insulator from the much colder air. I’m sure there’s a chart somewhere with the exact temps in relation to snow pack and density. We didn’t care to find it.