Smoking Grass

Cold Front, April 2005

Turns out, the 30-year-old sport of grass skiing—racing down green slopes on tank-tracked roller skis—is a legitimate pastime (in the Czech Republic). We recently caught up with World Grass Skiing Champion Jan Nemec of Brno, Czech Republic, to find out why he mows the sod.

Skiing: You're an accomplished ski racer in winter. So, why grass?

Nemec:I like both, but the lack of snow in the Czech Republic makes better conditions for grass skiing. In my case, the winter skiing is a preparation for summer.

Skiing: Are there big differences between winter racing and summer racing?

Nemec: It's not fun wearing ski boots, gloves, and helmets when it's 95 degrees out.

Skiing: How disastrous is a crash?

Nemec: I've had many wrecks but nothing too serious: broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder, brain concussion.

Skiing: So do grassy hills turn you on the way a foot of powder gets a winter skier revved up?

Nemec: A powder day to a grass skier would probably be a golf course tilted at a 25 per-cent grade.

Skiing: How is the grass prepared?

Nemec: In some places it's cut by small tractors, in other places by cattle. You can imagine why I prefer tractors.