Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wausau Downtown Airport (KAUW) skating video goes viral

WAUSAU - They looked at the pristine sheet of ice covering the runway and said to each other, "Wow, we probably could skate on this."

This was Tuesday morning at the Wausau Downtown Airport after an overnight storm left a coating of ice on the runways, and airport workers Steve Gering and Steve Rasmussen had just finished up laying down high-quality de-icer around some of the hangar areas. It just so happened that Gering, 24, had a pair hockey skates with him because he was scheduled to be a referee at a high school hockey game Tuesday night.

Next thing you know, he had them on and was gingerly gliding along the apron of the runway, doing gentle crossovers, accelerations and glides while Rasmussen, airport manager John Chmiel and others recorded the session with their smartphones. Chmiel posted the video on the airport's Facebook page.

Technically, Gering was skating on the apron of the runway, not on the runway itself, "but I don't bother to correct people about that," Gering said.

By 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Gering was a kind of an internet star. The clip had been seen 123,000 times, shared about 1,300 times and had attracted attention from folks at The Weather Channel and other news agencies as far away as Florida. It caught Gering, who was a goalie for the Wausau East High School Lumberjacks in his high school days, by surprise.

"I thought a couple of hundred people would see it. You know, the regulars on our Facebook page," Gering said.

There was something about the whimsical 38-second clip that appealed to internet users. Gering said he thinks it might be because it was an airport, "and people always think about airports as always being so serious."

Chmiel said he thinks the clip blew up because it starkly shows the impact of the storm that walloped central Wisconsin.

"I mean, you could hardly walk out there," Chmiel said.

But Rasmussen said he thinks it might be because it shows someone just having fun.

"That's part of what we're about here," he said.

"Yeah," Gering said. "We were making lemonade out of lemons."

Story and video:

Steve Gering

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- As the Downtown Wausau Aiport crew mopped up it's slick runway after Monday's ice storm, one employee embraced the ice by lacing up his skates.

The airport is reserved for private planes, but Monday it became flight instructor Steve Gering's private arena. He put on his hockey skates and glided up and down the ice-covered runway, while his boss took a video on his phone.

"I gave it a shot and it worked way better than I thought it was going to," Gering said. He just happened to bring his skates to work with him Monday, and by Tuesday night, the video had more than 13,000 views.

"It got way more attention than I thought it would," Gering said. "Someone ic skating on an airport. That's different."

Different for some, but not for a Wausau native. "I see bad weather and I'm like, 'huh! Maybe I can have a little fun with this."

Gering said he played hockey most of his life. He had the skates on hand at work that day so he could referee a high school game.

Story and video:

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