Daniel Zablotskiy was having a quiet Saturday night at his Ukrainian Village home when a friend texted him about the massive snowstorm barreling through the city.
Zablotskiy, a DePaul University sophomore, was buried in his books and hadn’t even noticed how much snow had already blanketed the streets. About an hour later, that same excited friend called over with a plan that sparked a viral moment.
“He goes like, ‘Yo, take your snowboard, let’s go skiing outside. I’ll pull you on my car,’” Zablotskiy, 19, recalled in an interview with the Sun-Times Tuesday.
Though Zablotskiy at first questioned whether it was “a good idea,” he ultimately fell in line and embraced the snowy stunt. Early Sunday, Zablotskiy and his friends first took to side streets that hadn’t been plowed before he came to a realization as they were driving down a stretch of Chicago Avenue in Ukrainian Village, which was left deserted in the wake of the storm.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, this is enough snow for me to snowboard down here. It would be pretty sick for a video,’” recalled Zablotskiy.
A now-viral video of the high jinks, posted to Zablotskiy’s Instagram, shows a car towing the teen along the snow-covered major arterial street.
“Main street of Chicago, let’s go!” he screams.
“Dan just doing Dan,” a friend in the car says in the video as Zablotskiy hops over mounds of snow and glides along the roadway.
Zablotskiy, a graduate of Lake View High School who now studies graphic design at DePaul, has previously taken to the slopes at the Alpine Valley Resort in Wisconsin — though he doesn’t consider himself an expert rider and has only been towed behind a car one other time.
“It was pretty fun,” said Zablotskiy. “It wasn’t too hard at first. But when I got the hang of it, I just started going crazy.”
As Zablotskiy and his friends were preparing to shoot the video, he told them he had one goal: “I want to get on the news with this.” That mission was accomplished Monday night, when a reporter from ABC7 included Zablotskiy’s Instagram video in a news report.
But the video’s reach has gone much further than local news. Instagram accounts with huge followings, like Barstool Sports and The Shade Room, have collectively racked up millions of views by posting the clip.
Though Zablotskiy is basking in the online fame, he’s also glad the video has brought other folks some joy.
“That’s what feels the best,” he said. “A lot of people are happy from this. Because this is in Ukrainian Village and most people don’t even know of Ukrainian Village. I’ve had probably like 40 comments that are like, ‘You’re putting Ukrainian Village on the map.’”