Yesterday I went for an afternoon walk and saw quite a sledding exhibition. It occurred on the hill behind the first tee on the North nine at New Albany Country Club. It is a good sized hill, not too steep but with a long incline. Conditions were excellent for sledding, with firmly packed snow underneath, a light dusting of new flakes drifting lazily down, and temperatures in the 20s.
I would guess that 20 to 30 people of all ages were sledding when I happened by. The hill featured just about every imaginable kind of sledding device, including toboggans, saucers, metal disks, molded plastic sleds, flat sheets of plastic, snowboards, sit skis, and Flexible Flyers. (For my money, the best sled for such conditions is a vintage Flexible Flyer, with the runners coated with candle wax or a non-stick spray. When the snow is well packed and able to bear the weight of the Flyer’s metal runners, you can fly down hills and steer, besides.)
Parents were perched atop the hill, where they would give their kids a push and then jog down the slope to help the kids lug the sleds back up to the top. The kids were dressed in a riotous display of winter gear. I saw fur-lined hoods, snowsuits, goggles, elbow-length gloves, long stocking caps, ski wear, and colorful scarves. As the kids skimmed down the hill and tumbled into the snow at the bottom, their shrieks of delight filled the air.
Sledding conditions can change quickly, and optimum conditions don’t come very often. Yesterday, the conditions were just about perfect.