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A Sledder's Backyard Paradise 

Thanks to Balas' addiction to the Weather Channel, thermometers planted inside and outside his house, and a home snow-making machine purchased in Maine called the "Backyard Blizzard," Balas has created a huge, homemade snow park.

He started making snow around Thanksgiving, he says. He estimates he's used 10,000 gallons of water and spent 100 hours blowing the stuff. And now he and his friends hope to be able to zip down trails until Easter.

There are three slopes, including one called "The Corkscrew," and a place carved out to hold a keg for a Super Bowl party. Balas' girlfriend, Meredith McVeety, has gone along with the obsession. Still, she says, "Don't encourage him."

— Stephen Salpukas and Jason Roop

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