ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—Danny Sieve needed a way to get his three daughters out of the house and away from the screens of electronics.
So he began blowing snow into a large pile near a tree in his Alexandria yard. He molded the snow against the tree and began carving into it, making his way through the yard until he'd formed a track. Then he took a hose to the course, creating ice along the track, until he had formed his very own backyard luge.
"Anything to get the girls out of the house," Sieve said. "The first thing they want to do when they come home is dive into their phones. With three girls, it's tough to find things to do outside. So these are the extremes we go to."
Sieve's three daughters — Bria Luepke, 13; Kendra Sieve, 12; and Julie Luepke, 8 — were delighted with the new winter activity, an addition to the ice rink Sieve also constructed in the yard.
"It's a fun thing to do outside instead of just playing in the snow," Kendra said. "We've got the ice rink and the luge, so it's more fun than just throwing snowballs."
Kendra says she is grateful her dad put the amount of work he did into the backyard project.
"It started small and blew up and now it's just like, 'Whoa,'" she said. "I sent friends pictures and they're like, 'Oh, I'm coming over soon.'"
The start of the luge is a 15-foot drop. The length of time the ride takes depends upon the speed and control of the sled. Sieve's daughters say the key to a successful luge ride is using their hands to steer the sleds along the course.
"It hurts sometimes," said Kendra as she climbed up the ladder for another run.