Monday, February 15, 2010

Sledding is awesome

It's been another snowy winter here on the North Coast. When I was a kid growing up in Columbus, I absolutely loved to go sledding, but was frequently disappointed at the amount of snow we got in the winter. Here in Cleveland we tend not to have that problem (although they've been getting hammered in Columbus too!) and I'm not at all ashamed to say that, at 26 years old, I'm still very into sledding.

Cara and I have gone out sledding several times over the past few years, and had a few adventures along the way. We'll never forget how ridiculously cold it was the first time we went at Forest Hill (which also happens to feature a half mile trek from the parking lot to the sledding hill). And then there was the time that we wanted to go sledding after a big March snowstorm, but had no sleds here, and were unable to find any in the stores. We ended up buying some foam insulation at Home Depot and cutting off pieces on which we slid down the hill. This proved only moderately effective, and we were lucky when someone took pity and let us use their sled for a few runs.

This year we've had our best sledding yet. We seem to have mutually decided that we prefer sledding at night, mainly because of the lack of crowds. While it's fun to observe kids enjoying themselves on the sledding hills, it's less fun to have to constantly look out/wait for people sitting at the bottom or walking up the middle of the hill. It's also not fun to cringe at kids nearly smashing into each other, or parents sending their three-year-old down the massive and steep slope at Forest Hill. Plus, sledding at night has a really cool atmosphere to it.

A few weeks ago we hit up the Cain Park hill, and it was the best sledding I've experienced in maybe a decade or even more. It reminded me of some of the great times I used to have at Wyman Woods in Grandview. The sledding surface was nicely packed down, a bit icy, and very fast, and if you were so inclined you could hit some bumps and receive moderate to huge air. Speaking of Cain Park sledding, I found this picture from 1970. I see a lot of Flexible Flyers - that was my favorite sled as a kid.

Tonight we went to Flavor Tripping at the B-Side Liquor Lounge, which was also a lot of fun (and I think Cara may write about it). Yet another snowstorm was picking up in intensity as we headed out. After the party (the highlights for me were lemons and goat cheese), we walked over to Coventry Peace Park with our sleds. This is a relatively small hill, but it's still quite fun. At least an inch or two of fresh powder covered the previously packed down snow. As we rode, our sleds carved smooth paths into the glistening hillside. It was really rather beautiful to look at.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for the best places to sled in Cleveland? I've read that some of the Metroparks have good hills.

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