I was just thinking about being a kid and going sledding. We were lucky when we were young. There was a good hill right across the street. I guess technically there were 2 if you count the one right across the street that was somewhat steep and the other, better hill that was on the far end of the property. The property itself was an old farmhouse that took up approximately 6 city lots. Us kids were scared of “the old farmer”. We were told he didn’t like kids on his property and would get his salt gun out to chase you off. Once he passed away his widow didn’t mind us sledding.
The choice of which hill to use was dependant on the snow total. If there was just a couple of inches then the good hill was used. It went down and then hit a flat period- our football field in the fall- before taking a dip into the ditch and out into the highway. Only on a rare occasion would you flip out of the ditch towards traffic. It never seemed to be an issue because you would keep an eye out for traffic before zooming down the hill.
The hill was only good for a couple days after a snowfall. Soon the neighborhood kids would chew up the hill with their different vehicles. I had an old fashioned sled that I used. It was ok when the snow was packed down but sucked when it was fresh. I would wait for the other kids with their new slick plastic sleds to compact the snow first. Remember that piece of plastic that rolled up into itself? That was a hot item one year. They worked ok as long as you could get yourself into the thing without it rolling up on you or it slipping from under you foot causing you to tumble down the hill. Then the other kids would yell at you when you put a big footprint into the snow. You had to walk to the edge of the designated area to climb back up the hill.
We never had tubes or any other inflatable item to go down a hill. It was either a sled or some plastic variation. Or those cheap skis that they sold. Maybe a toboggan if someone had one. Nothing as fancy as they have now.
If there was a good amount of snow with lots of drifting, then the front, steeper hill became the focus of attention. If the drift was small then we would groove out slides down the hill. We could usually get 5 or 6 cut into the hill that would last a week or so, especially if it got cold and they glazed over with ice at night. If the drift was really good we would either dig in a trench on top or carve out rooms (I think we called them forts) into the side of the hill. Some years we could get both with small tunnels connecting a fort to a trench.
The hill is no longer there. The area was leveled and houses not sit upon the land. When I shovel the snow at my ma’s house I can picture the old days. Some of the kids in that neighborhood have no clue what they are missing. I am sure they use the hill that leads down to the creek but believe me, that one paled in comparison to what was across the street.