Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On the Mountain: Sledding


You can just barely see a sledder
When I was a kid we lived half way up a mountain in Weld. Winters were rough, but the one bright spot was  sledding down the road. The sledding was fast, long, cold, and perfect. When we reached the bottom a pick-up truck would scoop up what was left of us and bring us back to the top to do it all over again. 

As a teenager my friends and I were allowed participate in "Night Sledding". In the dark of night with only the moon's glow reflecting off the snow to light our way we would fly down the mountain. One by one we would launch ourselves down the hill in the dark. Alone with our sled we hurled through the cold. The wind would slam against any exposed flesh, work it's way under our clothes, and chill us despite our layers of protective clothing. The silence of the night would wrap around us and I often imagined an audience of deer, moose, and bear watching us like spectators at a strange sporing event. The only sound we could hear was our breathing and the sound of the sled gliding across the snow. Then suddenly we'd round the last bend and the head lights of the truck would greet us like a beacon guiding us home. Silhouetted against the head lights would be my father, grinning fiendishly as he watched us whip around the last corner. In a cloud of snow we would slide and twist to a stop. Breathlessly we would recount our adventures to him. We would regale him with tales of our near-misses and our lightening speed. He'd listen carefully, attentively, and when we had exhausted our stories he'd ask us if were ready to do it again.

Over New Years we were able to introduce the next batch of kids to sledding on the mountain. They aren't big enough to sled at night, not yet anyway, but before long they too will be braving the cold to sled. Until then they enjoyed sledding during the day going faster than they ever have before. I cannot wait until Stomper is big enough to take him for some "real" sledding, because after mountain sledding, nothing compares.

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