Quandary: Summit’s best sledding hills
March 11, 2017
Quandary, the old and wise mountain goat, has been around Summit County for ages, and has the answers to all questions about life, love and laws in the High Country. Have a question for Quandary? Email your queries about Summit and the High Country to Quandary@summitdaily.com.
I'm not much of a skier, are there any good places to go sledding instead?
Skiing isn't for everyone, but don't worry, that doesn't mean you are doomed to a life of watching daytime television while everyone else enjoys the powder. No, luckily there is more than one way down a snowy hill and no matter your method — snow bike, snowmobile, snowshoe or saucer — there's a place for you.
If you do decide to venture into the world of sledding, keep in mind you are headed into lawless land. While the hope is that the innocence and laughter of a child on a Radio Flyer would be enough to tame the greatest daredevil, you are still responsible for yourself. This means your sled may never touch groomed powder and there will be no yellow jackets swooping in to pull a sled from a reckless rider; sled at your own risk. Consider a sledding hill the last bastion for common sense, if you will.
I'm happy to provide some tips to up that sense though and make sure you don't ruin a small child's day with your gaper ways. First off, it's never fun to become divorced from your sled mid-run. Hold on to your vehicle at all times in order to keep your union, and to keep from sending a projectile hurling into little Timmy's birthday party. Positioning is also key in the sledding game: The standard sit-and-push is a preferred method for riders everywhere, followed by the back-down-feet-first position and, if you're a real pro, the belly-down-head-first maneuver. Go with whatever method matches your style and keeps you headed in the right direction. Just avoid standing — that never ends well.
Now that you know how to go, the question becomes where to go. In Summit, there are sledding hills tucked in all around the county that are open to the public, and there are also those hidden gems where you pretty much need to know a neighbor.
For the more popular variety, check out Rainbow Park in Silverthorne. The hill here is good for youngsters and those looking to take it easy. It doesn't offer the longest ride in the county, but it's an easy location to get to and is built like a bowl, so you can get a little variety.
On the other end of the county, Carter Park in Breckenridge offers an equally convenient, yet slightly steeper hill next to the dog park. This means you can wear out the kids and the dogs without ever needing to move your car — a real consideration given the current parking wars.
In case you find yourself somewhere in between, the Frisco Nordic Center sits right next to a fine slope. And when you need to switch things up, the tubing hill and cross-country and snowshoe trails at the Nordic center offer just enough variety — not to mention hot cocoa at the Day Lodge.
Finally, if you find yourself stuck in traffic between Keystone and Dillon there's a quality hill near the parking lot for the Dillon Nature Preserve. This can be a good option if you have a crew of people with different aspirations; ice fishing, skiing, coffee shops and the sledding hill are all within a five-minute drive of one another.
Again, none of these are maintained hills so realize that if you take a bump a little too hard and break your saucer, or worse, there is no one you can sue for replacement parts. Regardless of where you go, remember the near holy union of man and sled, and enjoy the journey.