Tobogganing, snow tubing, speeding down a snowy hill on your magic carpet or saucer – it’s what’s on the mind of every kid, big or little, from the time the first snowflakes of the winter fall thick and fast. The feel of the wind in your face as you race to the bottom and tumble, laughing, into a soft snow-bank is a memory that somehow stays with you for a lifetime.
There are some pretty neat tobogganing hills in the Columbia Valley, where families can spend winter afternoons having fun together in the snow. You may already have a family favorite but if you are a visitor to the area and don’t know where the best spots are, here are some ideas for you. Each has been recommended by the local tourism folks who know ‘stuff’ better than anyone else:
- Radium Hot Springs – there’s great tobogganing and tubing at Legends Park. The hill starts behind the Community Hall and ends up in the baseball diamond – FREE.
- Invermere – Eileen Madsen Primary School grounds at 2001 15th Avenue is a safe place, away from traffic, with a nice hill that everyone can enjoy – FREE.
- Fairmont Hot Springs – The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort offers great downhill family fun at the Outlaw Alley Tube Park. Helmets are required ~ $15pp.
- Kimberley – The Trickle Creek Golf Course is the place to be on a snowy winter day. Some family members can enjoy cross-country skiing or snowshoeing while the rest are tobogganing or tubing. The gate will be closed to automobiles but you may park and walk through – FREE.
Just Plain Common Sense
Here are a few simple, common-sense precautions you can take to ensure that you and your kids have a safe and happy sledding experience this winter:
Kids need supervision
- After a fresh fall of snow especially, rocks, tree branches and other obstacles are hidden from view. A responsible adult should be ensuring the paths are free and clear before the child leaves the top of the hill and that the path does not end in a roadway or body of water.
Helmets are a must
- All sledders, especially those under 12 years, need their heads protected.
Use your toboggan or tube the way it was meant to be used
- It might be thrilling to go down the hill on your back or facing backwards but you could endanger yourself or others if you can’t see where you are going.
Don’t use items that were not designed for use as sledding devices
- Shower curtains, baking sheets, plastic bags – you name it, it’s been used on sledding hills, but these sorts of items could easily tear or get stuck to the hill, tossing you off and possibly injuring you or others.
Always sled with a buddy
- It’s always possible to be injured, no matter how good a sledder you think you are. If you are injured and you have a friend with you, there is a better chance of making it safely home. If you really want to solo, choose an area where there are others doing the same thing. Don’t pick an isolated hill with no one around to help in case of an emergency.
Don’t sled on a public roadway
- Of course, there are always people who chose to do really stupid things, like sledding down a hill on a street in a town or city. It might be the most tempting idea but there are curbs, pedestrians and parked cars to crash into, and even if you think the way is clear, you can pretty much depend on being surprised by something totally unexpected.
Have a blast on the hills this winter while you and your family make memories that will last a lifetime!