Silver Chips Online

Letting it slide

SCO is in the snow about winter sledding hotspots

By Jenna Bushnell, Online Features and Humor Editor
January 4, 2010
It is 6 a.m. and you jump out of bed in anticipation. You dash to your window to see the once green lawn covered in fluffy snow. With a grin plastered across your face, you run to the T.V. and turn to channel 34. Amidst the soothing elevator music playing in the background, a blue screen with white writing reads, "Due to inclement weather, Montgomery County Public Schools have been closed for…" Huzzah! A snow day!

While the prospect of an unexpected day off makes even the most serious of students giddy, the key to a perfect snow day is to make sure it is flaked with fun. While some sleep in, enjoy hot cocoa or catch up on missed episodes of "Glee," others dare to venture out into the chilly weather and have a splendid time in the snow.

Because there are a plethora of options for outdoorsy Blazers in our area, we at Silver Chips Online have highlighted a few sledding spots that are sure to make your winter extra cool.

Takoma Park Middle School - Takoma Park, Md.
A girl laughs after a quick sled ride down a steep slope. Jeff Lautenberger
A girl laughs after a quick sled ride down a steep slope.
Blazers trek from far and wide to enjoy this steep and super slippery hill. A snow day staple for many, the hill that runs adjacent to Takoma Park Middle features a relatively sharp hill with a wide flat area at the bottom so sledders can come to a complete stop after a speedy ride. Although great for both young and old, this hill is often very crowded during snow days, with crowds usually growing after midday.

Birch Avenue - Takoma Park, Md.
Perfect for Blazers who have a need for speed, this street is typically closed off during snow days and features a very steep incline. Trudging back up the hill after a slide can be quite the strain on a sledder's glutes, so remember to bring a light sled. Not recommended for novice sledders, this hill requires a certain degree of sled-stopping know-how since the hill runs into an active street.

Robert Frost Middle School – Rockville, Md.
A Potomac resident flies over a mogul on his sled at Robert Frost Middle School after an unusual December snow storm dumped nearly two feet on the county. Courtesy of The Gazette
A Potomac resident flies over a mogul on his sled at Robert Frost Middle School after an unusual December snow storm dumped nearly two feet on the county.
More spacious than Takoma Park Middle School's hill, sledders can enjoy a good slide without the fear of crashing into others. For those brave souls who don't mind a bruised bottom, give the numerous jumps a try but prepare for a sore backside in the morning. A good pick for those who have to take their younger siblings out, Frost has a mix of small and large hills, perfect for sledders of all ages.

Fort Reno Park - Washington, D.C.
Fairly close to home and accessible via Metro, historic Fort Reno Park in Tenleytown features steep hills popular for sledding. Deal Hill, which faces Alice Deal Middle School is great for kids, as it is long and flat - but be careful about the new fence recently added to the bottom of the hill. If you hit the hill right you can shoot across the street and ride for blocks (beware of traffic!). If the thrills offered by Fort Reno don't sound like your cup of hot chocolate, nearby Fort Bayard Park has more gentle hills appropriate for younger children.

Wisp - Deep Creek Lake, Md.
The slopes at Wisp are breathtaking as well as steep. Courtesy of Wisp Resort
The slopes at Wisp are breathtaking as well as steep.
Though mainly known as a ski resort, Wisp offers one of the top sledding spots in Maryland for family members who are not major ski jockeys. Wisp is a farther drive than other locations but offers unique conditions and views for snow lovers. With 32 trails, Wisp has a wide variety of skiing, sledding and snowboarding options for the snowbound. Of those trails, 90 percent are open at night.

If you visit Wisp, be sure to try the resort's Mountain Coaster. This extended ride will provide you with a two-seat sled that will whisk you down the mountain and through the forest, giving you the ride of a lifetime. A ride on a double coaster will cost you $15 while three rides will run your bill to $40, though the price is well worth the fun.

Bear Claw Snow Tubing Park - McHenry, Md.
If you don't want to pay big bucks for a trip on the Mountain Coaster but are looking to enjoy a fast ride, try Bear Claw Snow Tubing Park. The tubing park has nine different chutes, reducing the amount of wait time. The outstanding feature of this park is that after your ride is complete, you don't have to make the tedious trek back up the mountain. Instead you can take advantage of Bear Claw Snow Tubing Park's tow ropes that will get you back to the top in minutes with little effort. Snow tubes can be rented at Bear Claw for $8 per person per day.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9761