North Sydney family rigged up parachute to power snowboard

Windy conditions perfect for wind-powered improvisation

Published on February 15, 2017

Jarrod and Jordon Burton off the snowboard and homemade parachute that when combined during this week’s high winds had the North Sydney brothers hurtling across the snow drifts near their Seaview Drive home. A video of their adventure can be viewed on The Weather Network’s website.


NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. — You could say the idea was blowing in the wind.

Members of the North Sydney family that improvised a wind-powered snowboard to take advantage of this week’s extreme gusts says the plan was a spur of the moment idea. They also say that when they filmed the endeavour they had no idea it would end up on social media.


On Monday evening, just as most of Cape Breton was battening down the hatches in preparation for the big storm, Jarrod Burton was walking with his father Glen when they decided to check out the waves on the water across from their Seaview Drive home.

“We were actually out in the woods and we thought we should go down and see the waves because there was a storm surge alert and it was really windy,” said the 15-year-old Grade 10 student.

“At first we thought we could rig something up to pull a sled, or toboggan, and then we thought of a snowboard so I ran back to the house to get one.”

The pair then found an old tarp and some twine, including some cord from a lawn trimmer, which they tied to the material in numerous places to create a makeshift parachute.

After a few trial runs, and some subsequent adjustments to the “parachute”, they began documenting their adventurous pursuit on video. And, it wasn’t long until Jarrod’s older brother Jordon got in on the act.

“They conned me into it — it was a storm day and I was in the house watching storm television,” said the 25-year-old power-engineering student.

But once outside, Jordon embraced the challenge and his performance drew the praise of his brother.

“He probably did the best, but we all tried it,” admitted the younger Burton, who added that dad Glen also had a go and that his form wasn’t too bad.

The next day Jarrod logged into The Weather Network website and uploaded the video of the winds pulling board and rider across the snow at the edge of the nearby road. While their form may have been slightly erratic due to the gusting winds and the less-than-scientifically built parachute, the premise behind the idea was solid as the contraption did drag them across the snow drifts as designed.

The Burtons say they’re not sure what their next innovative undertaking might be, but young Jarrod did admit to an interest in someday becoming a drone pilot.