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Dashing Through the Snow
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Credit: Pierce Martin
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierce-martin/8394592223/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

In much of the country, "snow days" mean sledding. Children and teens grab their sleds and head for the hills. Everyone has an opinion on the best spots for sledding in their area, but are there any constants? What makes a great sled hill?

Rise Over Run

A hill's slope helps to determine whether it's makes for a fun time or a disaster. A slope that rises too slowly means a dull ride. On the other hand, if a slope is too steep, it might end in an ambulance ride. The best sled hills are steep enough to provide a thrill, but not so steep that every landing produces a broken bone. There are other factors that make a great sled hill, such as a lack of trees or other obstacles. That way, sledders can focus on speed, not steering. Some hills feature ramps that send sleds flying through the air. Avoid hills that end in busy streets or bodies of water. When you stop, you want to be able to get up and go again!

Credit: Brian W. Schlumbohm/Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortwainwright/4485244132/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Some ski resorts have added sledding or tubing hills to their properties. The hills provide safe, thrilling rides for people who don't feel like skiing. They often offer restrooms, refreshments, and a towline to the top. However snow tubing at resorts can be expensive, and some experts worry about the environmental impact of resorts, since they alter natural habitats and use a lot of water and energy to produce artificial snow.

See for yourself: http://traveltips.usatoday.com/ski-resorts-affect-environment-106575.html

Explore More

Check out the following links for more about sledding injuries, ski resorts, and snow tubing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROtifjGTD0s

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-03/space-mountain-building-world%E2%80%99s-biggest-indoor-ski-run

http://longisland.news12.com/news/children-snow-tube-at-bethpage-state-park-1.4605624

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Pierce Martin; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierce-martin/8394592223/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Brian W. Schlumbohm/Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortwainwright/4485244132/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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