Grasshopper Soup: A real Tahoe tool
January 26, 2010
How did I survive so long in Tahoe without a self-loading, dual-action Snohoe? I learned that driving with chains on when there is no snow on the road is a bad idea, and grocery shopping on slippery tile floors wearing ski boots is suicide. But the genius of the amazing lightweight but strong Snohoe eluded me for years.
Jim Williamson, a Grasshopper Soup fan, gave me a Snohoe just before all this snow came, and it changed my life. Why didn’t you invent them in the 50s, Jim? Thanks to Jim’s big heart, I am an avid user. It is so simple it is profound, similar to a garden hoe, but especially designed for snow removal.
The Snohoe has a magical quality, as if it knows exactly what type of snow it is dealing with, and how to move the most with minimal effort. You will want everyone to own one. The Snohoe has many uses. It can’t remove all the corrupt politicians from office, but it would be worth a try. It wouldn’t hurt to remove that deranged partisan, intolerant MSNBC gossip Keith Olbermann with a Snohoe too. Good Snohoe users are bipartisan. They use Snohoes to part with snow, and reporters who only tell one side of the story.
The Snohoe design is flawless, blending simple geometry with the laws of physics for maximum power. But there is some complexity to the tool. To take full advantage of its intelligent design (pun intended), you have to master the dual action feature and flip it over at the right time.
Once you figure out the flipping part, you are on your way to becoming a flipping expert Snohoe operator. You may even become Snohoe Czar. Then, like any expert, you can break all the rules and use it any way you want. But it is not designed to chip ice, unless you want to ding it up and scratch your car, or you don’t mind buying a new Snohoe every snowstorm, which would be perfectly all right with Jim.
If IRS tax forms were as simple as the two word Snohoe instructions, they would say Pay and Die. On the Snohoe instructions, an arrow next to the words Push and Pull points in the appropriate direction to aid in understanding. Two word instructions are ideal, especially for us men, but I’ll bet you any amount of money most men think they can use the Snohoe without even reading the instructions.
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An easy to understand illustration is included on the Snohoe, just don’t be confused by the clouds. Those are actually clumps of snow. The instructions don’t come right out and tell you which end of the Snohoe is which. That is something you will have to deduce from the illustration, unless you are an experienced mountain person and can tell just by looking at the hoe. Upon close examination it is amazingly easy to tell the difference between the handle and the working hoe end of the tool. Most people figure it out immediately.
The claim that the Snohoe is self loading threw me a little bit at first, because it has no moving parts. Self loading could mean only one thing – that Snohoe Inc., located right here in Grasshopper Soup (Tahoe) City, has one hell of a good sense of humor.
Among other uses, the Snohoe is perfect for removing snow from your car, but it won’t load your car with snow. So don’t try to use it in the summer when you are hungry for some powder turns, because it will not actually produce skiable snow.
The government can make money appear out of thin air (or disappear), but the snohoe doesn’t have that kind of power over snow. It removes snow like a charm, but the snow has to be there already in order for the Snohoe to get loaded.
I like my Snohoe so much I’m going to walk in to a casino with it, head straight for the most crowded craps table, and rake in all the chips. Now that’s what I call self-loading.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.
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