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Sledding in the Region

Winter is here and with winter, comes the snow. With snow, comes the fun! Snowball fights, snowmen, ice forts, ice skating on a frozen lake and of course, sledding. When we were kids, we loved being outside in the snow because not only did we get a day off from school, but we got to do all these fun things with friends.

Snow allows us to reshape our terrain into whatever we could imagine. We could craft snowmen and women, depict epic battles, or create placid scenes in front of our houses. Or perhaps a huge snowball fight was more your speed, spending an hour stocking up a pile of snowballs behind a wall fabricated out of packed snow, all to prepare for the onslaught of snow.

But above it all, was sledding. Standing at the top of a huge hill, looking downward, sled in hand, our very fingers tingled in anticipation. Suddenly we would jump on top of our sleds and push our way over the edge of the hill and we’re off, gaining momentum as we speed down the steep slope.

Wind, rushing past our faces, snow flying everywhere, we gain speed, going faster and faster until, all to soon, we come to the bottom of the hill. Momentarily dazed from the adrenaline coursing through our veins, we pick ourselves up and steel ourselves for the long climb back up the hill to do it all again. And again, until the sun sets, or our parents come looking.

With all these memories in mind, this Lifer went out on the advice of our faithful readers who recommended a few spots around the Region to go sledding. First on our list was Forest Park Golf Course in Valparaiso.

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With sleds in hand, my daughter and I trudged out in almost white out conditions. Undeterred, we mounted our sleds atop the hill next to the clubhouse and sped downward across the white landscape. After several successful runs along the eastern side, we traversed to the western side of the hill, which had a sharper drop off at the top.

This proved to be enough to power our sleds to even greater speeds, even if the run was shorter than the other side.

Knowing our time was short, we quickly packed up and headed to our second destination, Rogers Lakewood Park in Valparaiso. Upon arrival, we quickly realized that this hill was about twice as big as the previous one, with not one, but three separate, distinct sledding paths to take.

Parking was near the top, so we had no need to climb to start out. There was even a park bench perched quietly atop the large hill. Sleds in hand, we raced downward, gaining momentum much faster than the previous sledding hill.

Faster and further we went, this hill didn’t ever seem to end. Finally, we hit the curve at the end of the hill and were immediately covered in fresh powder. Laughing, and gasping for breath, we looked at one another, and looked behind us, up the looming expanse of hill and grinned, knowing we were going again.

We kept sledding down the hill until the sun finally set. Sometimes we would go tandem, sometimes solo. Other times we’d go feet first, and other times we would dive down head first, eating a face full of snow on the way down.

With the sun setting, we tiredly packed up our sleds, and make our way back to the car to ultimately head home and thaw out over a cup of hot chocolate (with marshmallows of course).

Verdict: Forest Park was very fun, and we highly recommend it, but Rogers Lakewood is where it’s at for Valparaiso sledding. It was long, steep and had three different sledding tracks so it could handle quite a crowd of enthusiastic sledders.

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