As the snow starts to fall, find out what hills are the best for sledding
Story and photos by Todd Costello
If you're like some people who don't ski or snowboard, and want to stay busy when the streets and surroundings are draped in snow, there is still an alternative. What better way to enjoy a snow day than picking up a $5 sled and hitting the hills. The following three hills are guaranteed to give any college student, parent, or child home on a snow day a good time. The first hill on the list is Fox Hill.
Located off South Plattsburgh Road, Fox Hill is right near the Plattsburgh State University College campus and should be a priority to visit by students and residents when they're bored on a snowy day.
"It is a pretty fun hill to start the season with"
The hill is not too steep or long. It is located right next to a baseball field and you finish your sledding run by coasting into the baseball diamond's outfield.
It is also a fun hill for parents to take some of the younger kids out to try. This hill definitely satisfies the convenience need of sledding. Whether you are a hung-over college student, or a sledding fanatic who just doesn't have the energy to go through long walks back up the hills, Fox Hill will be a perfect destination to dust off the toboggan and go have a good time.
There is a wooden set of steps that really takes out the hassle of sledding. "It is a pretty fun hill to start the season with," said Saranac local, Brian Roberts. "It is easy to climb up after your run, but can get a little boring if you sled it a lot."
There are also grooves carved in the hill- making for a fun time when you're speeding down the slope. So, if you have some time to kill and you want to get some sledding in without sacrificing a lot of time or energy, Fox Hill will be perfect.
The name says it all for this hill. Located right off Route 3 near Saranac Town Hall, the hill looks extreme from the field beneath, it looks even steeper when you're on top. The first time up, you'll feel like you're in the nose-bleed section of Yankee Stadium.
"Don't be surprised if somebody takes a bad spill when they're going down"
I would leave this hill to the college students or teenage sledders who are willing to take an occasional spill at high speeds.
The hill isn't a long one and it serves for a super-fast, short trip down. What it lacks in distance, it makes up for in speed. At a side of the hill, there is a bank that, when filled to the top with snow, will serve as a sling shot if you hit them right with your sled. Unlike Fox Hill, the steepness of Suicide Hill will take a toll on your legs when making the trip back up the hill.
"You go ridiculously fast down that hill," said Saranac Lake local, Peri Fluger. "Don't be surprised if somebody takes a bad spill when they're going down."
Speed is the main attraction for Suicide Hill. It's modest in size so, although it's a steep hill, it's also a short one for the walk back up. If you're feeling a little daring, definitely try this hill out at least once during the sled season.
The Sand Dunes
The third and final hill on the list is for really avid sledders. To get to this next hill, you need to be a little ambitious to enjoy one of the best sledding destinations I've ever seen. Its location is near the American Legion, off Rand Hill Road, in West Plattsburgh.
There is a playground located toward the back fields and if the roads are closed, you have about a quarter-mile walk ahead of you.
Behind the playground, and thin wall of trees, there is a crater, the size of a football field filled with sand (laid down when building roads or driveways). When standing in the crater's middle, you feel like you're standing inside of a huge cereal-bowl.
The walk to the top of the hill can take almost 10 minutes when there is no snow on the ground. When there is snow, it may feel like a mile.
The ride down the hill is extreme. It's steep, it's long, and it's fun. The long walk is worth the atmosphere it provides. When you're standing on the hill, you are isolated from the world by a surrounding wall of forest.
Right now, there is a drop at the bottom of the hill that forms a jump as high as about 8-feet, and is border-line dangerous if you were to hit it going full-speed down the hill. If you have some energy and really want to get the sledding experience, sneak away from the public a little, and try on the Sand Dunes. For the all-around experience, this is the best hill to seek during the sledding season.
These three hills all have some aspects that separate them from one another. Whether you want a short walk, high speeds, or all-around runs, these hills will satisfy your needs. If you're part of the crowd who doesn't feel like paying hundreds of dollars for a pass to one of the ski mountains, sledding is an inexpensive way to enjoy the snow just as much as the snow boarders and skiers.
It is an old-school piece of equipment, but the design makes for high speeds.
With the high speeds, you compromise some control and stability, but is still easier to handle than most sleds.
The toboggan is heavier than other plastic sleds and has to be considered before going to hills with long walks.
The round shape causes the sledder to spin as he goes down the hill rather than edge out and crash.
It may put the sledder in for an exciting ride, but unless the sled comes to a halt, it is very hard to manually stop.
The ultimate sledding experience involves the snow-tube. It mixes speed with less chances of crashing.
The tube also is a comfortable way to sled.
What better way to race down a hill at high-speeds than relaxing in an inflated snow-tube?
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