Ahh…the joys of sledding. The rush, the exhilaration of speeding down the mountain or hillside with snow and wind blinding you. You’re not real sure where you’ll end up or how you’ll stop. You just know you love the feeling. Of course, maybe that’s just me again.
I have to admit that I haven’t been sledding in years. I think the last time I went sledding I was in high school. If I had a sled and somewhere to go sledding, I’d do it again, despite the accidents. If done right, and no I don’t mean the Clark Griswald definition of sledding right, it’s a really good time. Shoot, thinking back on my two highlights are enough to bring a smile to my face. It’s good, old-fashioned fun in the snow. Yes there are snow angels to be made and snowball fights, but sledding is an adrenaline rush. It’s not for everyone but a lot of kids enjoy it and parents love to send their kids sliding down a hillside on their backside. What can go wrong? Again, this is just one of the many things that help make this time of year “merry.”
Sledding is another one of those winter traditions. It’s really great for the holidays because it’s a free activity and it wears the kiddos out, assuming they haven’t wiped out and caused some bodily damage. Of course, even if a wipeout does happen, that’s all part of the fun. It makes for great memories and it toughens the kiddos up a bit. No this doesn’t mean I want the little ones to break limbs or suffer other serious injuries, but getting dumped in a pile of snow or a little shock to the system never really hurt anyone. Wipeouts aside, sledding is just a good old fashioned time and helps create those memories for friends and family members.
Speaking of wipeouts, I had one of my very own epic wipeouts and was the last time I went sledding. That’s coincidence of course. I would totally go tomorrow if I lived near snow and had a sled. Anyway, I digress. I was in high school and, of course, it had snowed. My dad and I decided we wanted to go sledding and I asked my friend Shauna to come along. Her dad warned her to be careful because she had a big basketball game coming up and he didn’t want her hurt for it. I understand this. I was a competitive soccer player at the time. I get it. Maybe it would have been better if he hadn’t warned her.
My dad and I already knew we wanted to check out these hills near the house. The City of Westminster in Colorado had new soccer fields and there was this big hill right next to them. It sort of looked like a layered cake with sidewalk warping around it. Anyway, it was all covered in snow and it was a good snow day – not super cold but certainly cold enough to enjoy sledding. We grabbed the orange plastic sled and Shauna and headed out to the hill. We were having a grand time, taking turns even going together, etc., but it started to get a little crowded in that one area. People who were off to our right started to come in closer and closer. Well, that wouldn’t do.
My dad, who always has wonderful ideas, decided to move us to that side and get away from the crowd a bit. Crowds are no good as they can make for a collision, etc., so we were trying to avoid that. What we didn’t know was why all those folks were moving closer to us. We would soon find out the hard way. We were doing fine until close to one of our final runs. My dad thought it would be really fun if Shauna laid belly down on the sled and laid on top of her. Ingredients to a sure fire wipeout: no visibility due to laying on your belly and no goggles, orange plastic sled that doesn’t offer much control and even less when you’re on your belly, large pile of hard sod covering pipes that can’t be seen by snow. So there we went and laughing the entire way down, until BAM! I went flying and then landed on the hard concrete of the sidewalk and felt broken only to see Shauna suddenly sit up crying and gasping for air. She took that darn pile chest first. We were hurting. Needless to say, her dad was not so happy with us. I can’t remember the exact injuries but fortunately nothing was actually broken I don’t think. There was bruising though. Ouch. Yes be sure to scope out that hill before sledding down. At least it’s funny to look back on; it’s amazing how time can do that for those situations.
My other fond personal memory of sledding – again me and my dad going out with that darned orange plastic sled. This was before the big crash and he and I went alone. We went to the hill close to our old house in Federal Heights. By the time we got there, high schoolers and a little bit older were already there having a grand time and created a jump for their tubes. I knew that’s exactly what I didn’t want to run into so we stayed off to the left of this thing. That is until the go down on your belly idea struck. If I ever go sledding again and choose to go down on my belly, it has to be a sled with better control and I will have goggles.
Anyway, this wasn’t so bad but it was so funny. There I went, laying flat on the sled and gaining speed. I couldn’t really see where I was going but was trying to steer the sled from the jump but without success. All I could do was hold on and pray that I didn’t totally wipe out on the landing. I hit that jump fairly hard and fast and all I could hear behind me was “WHOA!” from a crowd of mostly boys. I have no idea how much air I cleared but it must have been pretty decent because that was an impressive “whoa.” I’m trying to not laugh too hard as I type this. It was so not what I wanted to do but I had so much fun. I landed fairly hard but I certainly wasn’t hurt and I stopped several feet shortly after. If there had been video, I’m sure it would have been on YouTube. Sledding… those are the good old days.
And just for kicks – Here’s Clark Griswald proving that you shouldn’t grease a metal sled. Enjoy!