Growing up in a place where it snowed a lot, I went sledding all the time. Lucky for me, my family lived right across the street from a park. Even better, this particular park had lots of hills. My friends and I would spend hours sledding down the numerous hills as we would race, build jumps, and modify our sleds for optimal speed. Our moms would have to drag us inside at the end of the night.
Once I became an adult, the allure of sledding went away. Walking up steep hills, freezing my butt off, and beating up my body no longer had an appeal. I went many years without sledding until I took Sidney back in 2016 when we made a trip home during the holidays.
A half decade would pass before I would go again. This past weekend, I took Sloan sledding for the first time. With the conditions perfect and my sister’s family up for a playdate, we met at one of Spokane’s best places for sledding.
After purchasing a sled at Lowe’s, Sloan and I drove to Holmberg Park. Home to hills that provide the same thrill Clark Griswold experienced in “Christmas Vacation,” I wasn’t easing Sloan in on bunny slopes. We met Miranda, Jay, Mikayla, and Johnny and got right after it.
Sloan can be a scaredy cat in some respects and fearless in others. When it came to sledding, she was the latter. I invited her to get into the sled and she didn’t hesitate. I let her get in front and I sat down in the back, curling my legs around her to make sure she wouldn’t fly away on her first run. After a push from Jay, we were zooming down the hill. The adrenaline from 20 years ago filled my body again combined with the parental instinct of keeping a 3-year-old safe when traveling down what was basically an ice track at a high rate of speed. When our sled finally came to a stop, Sloan was hatless but other than that still in one piece. I half expected her to be crying but she just had a surprised look on her face.
There was no looking back after that. Along with the numerous other children and parents at the park, we took several more runs down the hill. Although we never wiped out, we did spin out and had a couple close calls where we almost collided with other people on sleds. By the time Sloan started complaining about being hungry, not going to lie, I was a little relieved that we had an “out” to conclude her first sledding adventure.
Not that it wasn’t fun—because it was a blast—but I didn’t want her first sledding experience to be characterized by a nasty spill or other traumatic experience. As I took off her snow clothes at our car and basked in the enthusiasm she still had in her voice, I was thankful for a memorable sledding debut and her growling stomach. Don’t Blink.