“Skitching” and other Yooper adventures

When I was a kid in Da Yoop, one of the unofficial winter sports of the region was “skitching”. This involved grabbing on to the back bumper of a passing vee-hickle and riding along behind it on the ice that most of our streets were made of in the winter. If I remember correctly, it was mostly boys who engaged in this sport. I could run faster and jump higher than a lot of the boys in the neighborhood but somehow, “skitching” felt off-limits to me. I have been putting “skitching” in quotes because I don’t remember what we called that ill-advised sport when I was a kid. My memory banks are probably faulty but it was Nancy Nall who provided the word “skitching”. I’m adopting that word as of now. Scroll down on her blog to view the video of young men surfing through the snow behind a car at something like 1:30 AM in the beautiful city of Detroit after a relatively large snowstorm. They are not skitching but they are having fun. (And wearing helmuts helmets (duh).)

So. The kids boys around my neighborhood were always skitching. Like I said, it really wasn’t so much a girl-type thing. When I was in junior high school, my friends and I would walk up to Minneapolis Woods to ski many winter nights. Yes, that meant that we carried our heavy downhill skis and boots. There was a rope-tow there and a ski jump and a warming hut where you could buy hot chocolate and stuff and a big ice rink. I rode up the rope tow and skied down about a billion times. Ski jump? Never. Too chicken. We were in junior high. There were boys around and some of them liked some of us. I personally never connected with anyone at Minneapolis Woods. I think I day-dreamed that my crush of the moment would see me executing perfect parallel turns going down that hill. Not. Either me executing perfect parallel turns or any of my crush boys watching.

One night, my dad drove up to Minneapolis Woods to pick my friends and me up from skiing. The road there was a sheet of ice. A high school guy who was interested in one of my friends actually skitched my dad’s car. Hmmm. My dad was a highly skilled driver (and former WWII pilot). He realized that the kid was skitching and managed to maneuver the car to throw the kid off without hurting him. The kid said, “Wow, that Mr. Finlayson, the bank manager, is a really good driver.” Yes he was! But. The skitcher did not seem to know that Mr. Finlayson was my father. I didn’t have a whole lot of respect for that particular skitcher and so I was really proud of my dad. I tried to play it cool on either end though.

4 Responses to ““Skitching” and other Yooper adventures”

  1. isa Says:


  2. Margaret Says:

    It sounds like fun; we never had enough snow or ice to have too many adventures. It was always a novelty to us.

  3. Sam Says:

    From crepuscular to skitching…hmm, I think you’re temporarily donning the title Vocabulary Woman!

  4. jane Says:

    when I was at Huron H.S. Harry was also a Spanish teacher there. it was the beginning of the year and I was sitting in the back row of my Chemistry class with my friend Loren. He had cut off the tips of two fingers by reaching into a snow blower to take out a stick, so he wasn’t the best lab partner — he was constantly dropping test tubes.

    Anyway, people are chatting until the teacher starts class and the guy in front of me said something about his Spanish teacher Mr. Regenstreif. Loren and I smiled at each other. The teacher begins to call out names for attendance and when he gets to my name and I say ‘here’, the kid in front of me sat up straight. I could actually see the wheels in his brain turning as he tried to remember what he had said about my dad. 😉

    I never skitched either — too scared of somehow being run over by another car.