We had our first very, very light snow here in Fredericksburg on Saturday, and it was refreshing given last year we got nothing to speak of all Winter. It also made me think of one of my favorite childhood Winter sports: Skitching  (it even has its own Wikipedia article)

Skitching (i.e. “ski-hitching” or “skate-hitching”) is the act of hitching a ride on the rear bumper of a car when there is ice or slick snow on the roads. It is also sometimes commonly referred to as Bumper Hitching. This can also be done with a skateboard or roller skates in urban areas where there is no ice or snow. In addition, skitching can be performed on a bicycle.[1]

So, as I often do, I went to YouTube to find some telling examples of this underground sport, only to find that the majority of them were rehearsed examples with rope, skis, snowboards and the like. That’s not skitching! Using a car to pull you around the snow is a blast, without question, but so is sledding and the like. The thrill of skitching is that it is booth dangerous and illegal. And when I say dangerous I don’t necessarily mean you can get hurt skitching (although you certainly can), but rather the person driving the car could get out and in a fit of rage come after you, not to mention cops on the prowl. We skitched relentlessly after every big snowstorm in my neighborhood—and we had some formidable numbers, a regular pack of kids. Cars were often going slow enough so that we could catch rides all night, and when they discovered us they yelled, got out, and threatened. And a few times they actually got out, left their car and chased us all over our neighborhood, but we always had the upper-hand in that regard. However, it didn;t always end well for us, their were a few unlucky victims who got their fingers caught in the bumpers (when they still had bumpers).

Anyway, i think the following video on YouTube captures the true spirit of skitching better than any of those rehearsed “we’re skitching” nonsense videos. Skitching is all about transgressive transportation, and if that element is missing, than it can be called a lot of things, but it ain’t skitching!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Skitching

  1. Ed Webb says:

    Is this where Stephenson got the idea for the skateboard couriers in Snow Crash? The activity, not your blog post about it – unless he has a time machine, which I wouldn’t put past him. OK, I’m rambling now…

  2. Reverend says:


    You’re on the money, he is even referenced in the Wikipedia article. Which suggest one of the reasons Wikipedia is so rad. The other, like my wife was suggesting last night, is how you can hear so many competing and complementary voices–although distinctly different–in one article. The multivocal vision of text a la Bahktin come to life.

  3. We called it ‘bunking’. Summer bunking either required wheels, or could be accomplished simply by jumping on the back of a truck. Winter bunking involved grabbing the bumper and being pulled along the ice. Both, of course, were very dangerous. Yet another way I tempted fate as a kid.

  4. Scott Leslie says:

    Back in Montreal we called this “bumper hitching.” It was also commonly known that Kodiak boots (also affectionately known as ‘shit kickers’) were the bomb for bumper hitching (though totally useless otherwise as a winter boot, having no insulation and no grip) and ever 10 year old I knew would plead for a pair for Christmas. That and lumberjack jackets. Jim, you do take me back.

  5. Marc says:

    Well in my neck of the woods we called that hooky-bobbin’, rated of course by the distance one could travel after the vehicle started moving to fast and one was forced to let go.

  6. Reverend says:

    @Stephen, Scott, and Marc,

    I love the fact that all of you have a different name for this, for not knowing before now that it was really called skitching–how could you not? 🙂
    And Scott, if I am taking you back, then I’m doing my job as nostalgia provocateur! I think I am going to start selling people memories they never had, bavatuesdays as the Total Recall Inc. of the blogging world. I don;t know why but blogging to me always seemed more about these personal ideas I wanted to record somehow so I didn’t lose them, more than an edtech space. I guess it’s because I started doing this whole thing as a way to take an archive of my kids–which has suffered given the way I indulge my own, long-gone childhood..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.