Tobogganing

One of the great joys of a Canadian winter is sledding down a hill.  As a child, I remember ripping down hills that were taller than I was and laughing all the way (as the song goes).  I remember Crazy Carpets, giants disks and a whole bunch of other things.  They were awesome.  Sure, one time, when I was going down a hill on a giant tube it launched me into the air and winded me when I landed, but I was back up the hill shortly afterwards and there was no lifetime damage.  The worst accidents that I ever saw were broken bones and one concussion (and that was an adult).  Why?  Because people knew where to sled, we increased our comfort level to a place where we were happy and didn’t go beyond it.  It was part of learning about our own risk management and risk tolerance. It was fun and it was important learning.

So, I was shocked today to learn that many municipalities have banned sledding or are considering banning it.  Hamilton has banned it in city parks since 2001, Toronto and Calgary only allow it on designated hills and a number of cities in the US are following Hamilton’s lead and banning it outright.  This makes me really angry.  I can understand publishing the safety risks of sledding or suggesting that people wear a helmet.  I even get the idea that some hills are just too dangerous for sledding – like this one in a parking lot – but an outright ban makes not sense at all and gives the idea that sledding is somehow more dangerous than skiing or snowboarding.

With that in mind, I am proposing that we make this Sunday, January 11th, the first annual “go sledding day.”  I’m not suggesting that you break the law of course, but find a hill (here is a great resource for that) and go sledding with your kids.  If you’d like, tweet or instagram your fun with the hashtag #gosledding (I was going to suggest #takebackthehill, but it turns out that’s a political hashtag).  It would be fantastic to see the internet full of people having fun out there this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Pierce (https://www.flickr.com/photos/qwrrty/)

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