SUMMIT, NJ - In the holiday film favorite "The Santa Clause", starring Tim Allen, there is an exchange between the North Pole's lead elf, Bernard, and the son of Scott Calvin, Allen's character that is just learning that he is Kris Kringle. The exchange goes something like, "Seeing is not believing; Believing is seeing".
This adage, reinforcing the spirit of the holidays, applies perfectly to a home on Edgewood Drive where, for the past nine consecutive years, current Summit High School senior Nick Zachara has made his own snow. Yes, you read that right, there on Christmas Eve, after record temperatures and warm rain, sits approximately 4 feet of snow, sloping down to reveal two. homemade rails that any adventurous skier or snowboarder would love to glide over.
"I grew up a skier in the Northeast, so I wanted there to always be snow," said Zachara. "Plus, I got tired of 'brown winters'." Using an electrically-powered snow apparatus and a snow gun obtained from snowathome.com, he produces white, fluffy snow whenever the temperature range allows. Snowathome.com, based in Connecticut, even has an app that shows the temperature range, humidity levels and other vitals in your town, and color-codes the information to tell the user when they are in the ideal snow zone.
The reaction to Zachara's meteorological mini-miracle is exactly what one would expect, a mixture of wonder and bemusement. "I think people are kind of fascinated by it," he notes. In fact, as he was explaining how his system works, no less than a half-dozen cars slowed down as they drove by to check out his slope and the snow gun in action.
"The neighbors are all good with it," says Zachara. "As long as I let their kids play in the snow." The snow-making endeavor also proved to be a neighborhood draw, as he pointed out by stating, "One family told us they chose their house because they wanted to live on the street where the snow was."
Zachara, who likes to take a few runs on his slope after school, is a member of both the Varsity Soccer Team, where he is Captain and the goalkeeper, and the Varsity Lacrosse Team, playing long-stick middie. He will be attending St. Lawrence University next fall, studying business, and one day might like to, you guessed it, run a ski resort.
"Air and water, that is all it is," says Zachara. Perhaps it is only fitting that a young man named Nicholas should produce Summit's version of a holiday-inspired tradition that truly is unbelievably believable.