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How to Choose the Right Hill for Sledding

How to Choose the Right Hill for Sledding

October 25, 2017

Cold weather settles over your region and the snow is piling up. Instead of hot cocoa by the fire like the hibernators, you yearn to hit the slopes with your sled or snow tube. Forget skis or snowboards, you want to get up close and personal with the fluffy layer of wintertime snow. Only one problem remains: choosing the right hill for sledding.

Pick a Hill That is Legal for Sledding

The number one rule of picking out a place to take your saucers, toboggans, or inflatable snow tubes is this: keep it legal. Do not trespass, hop fences, or use public land for unintended purposes. Fines or a trip to the police station are not fun wintertime events.

Why do some property owners and park commissions not allow sledding? Money is the main reason. If someone gets injured, a likely possibility, insurance goes up and they may sue. Many areas do not want to take on the risk.

Luckily, most states, cities, or municipalities have an online site or community page where people readily share the best legal sledding hills in the area. Word of mouth from residents of your region can help, but we recommend always checking first.

Pick a Hill With Safety in Mind

The number two rule is safety. This differs based on who is going to be sliding down the hill on ski tubes or sleds. College kids having an adventure can handle steeper slopes, more bumps, and a shorter stopping area. Parents taking their kids out for a first slide should look for more gradual slopes with plenty of free space to launch and recover at the bottom.

The accessibility of sledding to a wider range of people than skiing or snowboarding actually makes it more dangerous. Tens of thousands of injuries from sledding occur every year. A large percentage of them are head injuries from running into trees, obstacles, or other people. Picking a safe hill goes a long way to preventing this.

Absolutely avoid these when choosing the right hill for sledding:

- Hills ending at a road
- Hills ending with water
- Too many scattered trees
- Too many people
- Stumps, rocks, and other obstacles

The first two items on the above list should be obvious, but too many people see the slopes and not the landing zone. Speed picks up quickly in a snow tube, and you may not be able to stop yourself before getting into a dangerous situation.

Trees and people cause crashes on a sledding hill. People might get out of your way, but it is tough to run to safety in a bulky snowsuit. The fewer obstacles the better. Even smaller things like rocks, fallen logs, park benches, and fence posts can cause a lot of damage and cut your winter fun short. Inflatable snow tubes may puncture if you run over something hard or sharp submerged below the drifts.

We know how awesome it is to grab a snow tube, ski tube, or sled and find the perfect hill for sledding in your area. While all the warnings above may make this winter pastime scary, sledding can be safe for all ages as long as you take some precautions. Stay safe, stay warm, and make memories zooming down the sledding slopes.