CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

FOR MYRON KNAPSCHAFER, TO AIR IS HUMAN, TO SHRED DIVINE.SHRED ALERT SEVENTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD MYRON KNAPSCHAFER IS GOING DOWNHILL FAST--AND HE COULDN'T BE HAPPIER.

The chair passes over the half-pipe, momentarily pushing the idea of rowing shells from Knapschafer's brain. "You know why those fellas down there don't get hurt?" he asks. "They're not any more than four feet tall, for one thing, and there's nothing but Pepsi in them, for another. Still, I wonder what they'd do on my board. If you got young legs, there's nothing you can't do on it."

Knapschafer had his heart set on making his older grandson, David Fernandez, the official Hiper rider--on his eighteen-year-old legs. "But he's studying for that dad-blamed international baccalaureate program," Knapschafer says. "He says he's too distracted to ride this year."

In the meantime, Knapschafer's younger grandson, James, continues to keep him company on the slopes. The brothers have been riding nearly ten years; their grandfather has been their only teacher. He's often their only companion, too--so far, it hasn't occurred to them that they belong with the high school set.

"Well, those younger guys keep their distance," Knapschafer theorizes. "They see me and my grandsons doing our wheelies and nose rolls, and they don't want anyone to ask them why they can't do the same."

But they have plenty of questions for Knapschafer. As he gets off the lift, groups of young snowboarders gather around.

"If you're a skateboarder, just keep going," Knapschafer tells one dreadlocked teen who approaches.

"How do you put those bindings on standing up?" the young man persists.
"It's a system for the average boarder," Knapschafer responds. "The average boarder's feet shouldn't hurt. I'm past seventy, and everything on me should hurt, but it doesn't. Your feet do hurt--am I right?"

"Is it made of wood, or what?" someone else asks.
"It's one of those Hipers," another voice chimes in. "You can do wheelies on them, can't you?"

Knapschafer can't resist. "Yeah, you can," he says. And with that, he zooms downhill, all eyes on him. The resulting wheelie takes him several hundred yards, and everyone wants to know how he does it.

"Nothing to it," he tells them. "All you really need is my board."
There is another explanation that Knapschafer would love to give, but he decides it's all wrong for this crowd.

"You get old," he'd say, "you start sliding downhill.

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