Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Sledding in the Boroughs

As an adult, a snow storm usually just means shoveling and snow blowing.  Long gone are the days when I would tunnel into the snowbank and build elaborate forts with my friends.  But now that my boys are old enough to go out and have fun in the snow I have been looking for the best locations for them (and me) to go sledding.

Of course I could always just go to a ski mountain...there are many around.  If you are willing to spend a money you could stay local and go to Ski Ward in Shrewsbury.  I have not personally tried this mountain yet, but I know one friend who took his 5 year old for ski lessons last winter and he was really pleased.

Still, for sledding or tubing you shouldn't have to pay for a lift ticket.  Old school fun in the snow was my objective.  After Sunday's storm, I found what I was looking for at the Westborough Country Club on Rt 30.  I tried the same hill last year but my oldest was only 3 1/2.   At the time he was not really ready for the hill, but this year it was a different story.  I have to say thank you to Westborough.  This is a great hill.  Growing up in rural NY, there were lots of hills but most of the good one had signs saying keep out or they were directly in someone's backyard.  Here, pretty much in the center of town, is a public hill, parking, and a local community having fun.

I expected most of Westborough knew about this spot, but as I recounted the weekend activity to some friends I realized not everyone is aware.  For those who have not tried sledding at the Westborough Country Club, here are my thoughts on this location.
  1. Most of the kids there are around 8 - 12.  There are a couple that are older, and several parents with younger ones like mine...3 and 5, but the majority are in that bracket.
  2. The collective group of parents is great, they are looking out for each others kids, they remind kids to get out of the way when sledders are coming down.  It was nice to feel that community involvement.
  3. There are limited "punks".  I feel old saying it, but the punk kids are a pain.  The three times I spent sledding in Westborough I didn't find any punk kids.
  4. The hill is fun.  I hated when I was younger, after finding a hill that looked fun, discovering that after two runs it held no excitement.
  5. Maybe most importantly, parents can have fun too.  Some places seem to frown on parents enjoying the same things are our kids.  I for one am trying hard to never give up the simple enjoyments in life...sledding is one of the basics.
Click on the photos for larger images.

View of the whole hill

From the bottom of the run

Midway launch in the foreground, top of hill in the background

A fun run

I loved sledding with my boys at the Westborough Country Club.  I would have loved sledding alone, it is a fun hill.  I also realize not everyone is in Westborough so I took some time to talk to some other parents over the last two days and find other places I should check out.  Here is a collection of what I have found so far.  Please feel free to comment with additional hills that I missed.
  1. Northborough - The hill behind Proctor elementary school has been a long time favorite of many people. I haven't checked this one out yet.
  2. Northborough - There is a big hill in the back of the Rt. 135 Soccer fields.  There is a great playground there I tried in the summer, I think the Westborough hill is better then this one.
  3. Northborough - Bearfoot Rd at the National Grid building.  I tried to find this one today and failed.  Just a reference from a Northborough resident, but he claims that this one is the "best".
  4. Marlborough - Jericho Hill on Brigham St.  Every person I have talked to has described this hill as intense.  I know my boys are too young for an ex-ski slope.  I am saving this for a couple of years.
  5. Marlborough - Ward Park is said to have sledding but I don't see that hill being that exciting.  I am sure for little kids it works though.
  6. Westborough - Obviously I like the Westborough Country Club, but I am told there is also sledding at Chauncey Lake.  I am not sure where to be honest.
  7. Southborough - I asked a couple of my friends who are Southborough residents to help me with hills in Southborough.  The only two they knew of are the Fay School and St. Mark's Golf Club.  I tried to do a little research on both but didn't come up with much.
One last thing I want to point out...I in no way endorse trespassing onto private property to go sledding.  Maybe when I was a kid, but not now.  And I don't manage any of these locations so if they don't want sledding please follow their rules.  I know the Westborough Country Club and Jericho Hill are public sled areas, but I recommend you check first with the town or whoever owns the property in case I am mistaken.  Also, please be safe.

I am going to be checking out a few of these locations this winter...mostly because I love to go sledding too.  I'll add some comments to this post on any hills I really enjoy.  And I promise to not just take my boys word on it, I will try it out myself.  :-)

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