Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Lube formula the key to 'Slip and Slide,' creators say


This year’s post-brewfest “slip and slide” was a milestone for some and a trip to the clinic for another.

Vanessa Stewart and her husband John Hourd of Whitehorse, Y.T., are the uncrowned king and queen of Visqueen. They started the popular slip and slide event on the parade grounds at Fort Seward five years ago and said they’re ready to pass the crown on to someone else.

“It’s been five years we’ve been doing it and we’re ready to pass it on,” Stewart said. “It’s a good tradition. You have to burn off the beer fest booze.”

Stewart said they came up with the slide idea because most of their family and friends would leave the beer tents only to go to their own tents and campers to pass out.

“We thought this would be a really good way to get people to actually use their bodies and get some energy out and burn off some of the alcohol,” Stewart said. “So we were like, ‘Let’s do a slip and slide.’”

Stewart said the first year they just used soap but it got a little too sudsy and burned people’s eyes. In an effort to make the event more palatable, they went to Google for advice.

“The next year we made homemade lube,” Stewart said. “It’s made of xanthan gum, glycerin and water. You can get it at any pharmacy. Now we make the lube every year. It doesn’t get in your eyes. It doesn’t hurt. It’s all natural. It’s all good.”

One caveat and a reason the couple is ready to pass it on: “It gets expensive buying lube,” Stewart said.

Last year Stewart and Hourd got married and celebrated their honeymoon in Haines during Beer Fest, Stewart in a veil and a white bikini and Hourd in a tuxedo Speedo.

“Usually he wears a speedo, this year he’s tamer,” Stewart said pointing to her glistening husband, who was wearing tight, leopard print swim trunks and running to the top of the hill for another slide.

Just as he was about to take the plunge, a girl crashed into another woman who fell and broke her ankle.

While a drunken bystander tried to splint her wound with cardboard and plastic wrap, the injured woman assured the gathering crowd she was okay, especially when they found out a reporter was interviewing her.

“Don’t do this story,” one concerned passerby yelled. “Don’t ruin the slip and slide.”

The injured woman assured everyone she was good to go.

“I’m fine,” the woman said. “I’m happy. It was a complete accident. I love the slip and slide.”

A local ambulance crew placed a splint on her ankle and took her away on a stretcher to the SEARHC clinic. She later boarded the ferry to Juneau for further treatment.

Hourd said when Canadians get injured in the states they usually call a cab back to Canada for treatment. He cited other accidents that happened on the slip and slide in previous years, including a woman who dislocated her arm.

“Usually the accidents happen on the American part of the plastic because we have universal health care and we don’t do liability,” Hourd said.

The remainder of the event went off without much drama.

Several dogs joined the fray, one of the cattle herding variety. The dog nipped at the slip and sliders’ ankles and wrists.

Another duo wrapped from head to toe in red spandex bodysuits tumbled down the plastic, and a large, inflatable rubber ducky also made an appearance.


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