Hills stay busy with sledders
Jan 06, 2013 (La Crosse Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Rachel Fredrick is 8 years old, and few things in life are better than sledding. She and her younger brothers, Robbie and Matthew, roamed Myrick Park's sledding hill Saturday morning with gusto only children can muster.
Whoops of all sort, cries of "kowabunga," and endless giggling filled the hill. The occasional cry of dismay rang out after a tumbling stop resulted in a face full of snow.
Robbie, equipped with a sled bearing vague resemblance to an armchair, was especially antsy. He jumped the gun and left too soon for a group sled.
"I'm going without you guys," he bellowed, but scrambled quickly back up the hill in time for the group excursion.
It's not hard to figure out why kids like sledding. "It's fast," Rachel said. But for parents, hills like Myrick offer specific appeal.
Kim and Jeff Fredrick drove the family from their home in Mindoro to La Crosse for a sledding reunion with old high school friends and their children.
Her children usually sled near home, but Kim was pleased with Myrick.
"This is safer, there's nothing they can run into at the bottom," she said, also citing the lack of busy roadways. "This is really nice."
Myrick's hill size was long enough to thrill the kids and small enough that repeated climbs didn't quickly fatigue them. Cookies provided some extra energy, not that any was needed.
Hills might be busy, but stores haven't seen a bump in sled sales. Despite above average snowfall in December, sled sales at Ace Hardware in La Crosse have been weak.
"It hasn't been a great year because of the late snow," store manager Dave Omara said, citing the lack of November snowfall.
No one type of sled has been overwhelmingly popular, but the store has seen an uptick in sales of toboggan-style sleds with metal runners.
While the sledding season may have gotten off to a late start, the snow levels have kept local hills in good condition for sledding.
Last year that wasn't the case for much of the season. The 2011-12 snowfall totals were the sixth lowest of all time in La Crosse, creating minimal sledding opportunities.
With hills primed this winter, the Fredrick children have been taking daily advantage. "They generally choose to go out on their own, even when the weather is really cold," their mom said.
On a sunny Saturday, Rachel had discarded her hat already. She convinced her mom to join her for a trip down, and had already hustled back to the top for a solo run while Kim was still climbing the hill.
Sledding can still be fun for parents, but cookies don't provide the same fuel they once did. More than a few adults had mentioned chiropractors, but the only appointments their children plotted involved more sledding.
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