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Winter Outdoor Family Activities - Sledding and Tobogganing in Snow

I spent my early childhood in Wisconsin and another four years when my husband's job took him there. It is a beautiful and scenic state!

Tobogganing down a snowy hillside

Tobogganing down a snowy hillside

Family Fun

The winter snows have finally arrived! Everything is blanketed with a dazzling whiteness and the air is crisp and clean. It is time for some winter outdoor activities and family adventure. Sledding and tobogganing fit nicely into this picture!

What kid would not enjoy sliding down a snow packed hill on his or her sled whizzing by the shrubs and trees that are embellished in that frost kissed robe of sparkling white?

Whether it is a saucer type of sled or an old flexible flyer sled or even a baby sled these fun times spent will create lasting memories. And who better to spend these precious moments with than one's family?

Wisconsin Winter Fun

My younger brothers and I grew up in the countryside of Wisconsin with acres of land surrounding our home. There was a hill behind us that seemed big to us when we were little. Many years later after I was married and was showing my husband our family home and the surrounding area that hill no longer seemed as big. Truly the home had shrunk in size as well! Funny how things seem to shrink in size as we get bigger!

In any case, that hill was large enough for us to do some sledding and we often took advantage of it. We had the old wooden slatted sleds with the ability to control the direction of our downward descent and became quite good at it with practice. Over and over again we would slide down the hill and pull the sled back up to the top only to remount the sled and once again fly back down the hill. Those were fun times!

When my mother was a child and sledding down hills their dog Jiggs would often ride down with them and he would pull the sled back up the hill!

Toboggans are mostly used for recreational fun in this day and time although their original use and that of sleds for that matter were utilitarian. Putting goods or small children onto sleds and toboggans and pulling it behind one during times of the year when snow covered the ground was an efficient way of transporting those goods or children as opposed to trying to carry them.

My Tobogganing Memories

My family had a wooden toboggan which was hauled out of the basement and put into use each winter season. I remember those days with glee! That hill behind our house was not really large or long enough to provide our family with enough downhill excitement to make it pay so we did one of two things.

#1. There was a golf course that had larger hills and several times a season my Dad would transport the toboggan and all of us to that location. It was an orchestrated effort to link ourselves all together with the legs of the person in back hugging the person in front and also using our arms to become interlinked. Once everything was set with my Dad being in back and my youngest brother in front of the curved face of the toboggan we would go sailing down the hill amidst gales of laughter.

#2. The other thing my Dad did to provide some fun for us on flat land near our home was to attach the toboggan to the back of his car with ropes while we would be on the toboggan sled behind. He would purposely make curves and once again laughing and trying to stay on the toboggan at some point we would all lose our grip and be scattered like fallen leaves into the soft banks of snow.

Such was the simple kind of fun we had while tobogganing in the winter. It still brings a smile to my face!

My Mother's Memories of Tobogganing

Vivid were my mother's memories of tobogganing in Washington Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when she was a child. After eating an early supper her family would go to the park with their toboggan.

A special ramp and stairway allowed access to the top of a wooden structure that had been built. After working their way up in line they would carefully align themselves onto the toboggan and after being launched their descent first took them down the ramp and then onto the long sloping hill below amidst much hilarity and laughter.

The park and especially the toboggan run was well illuminated and this was often a night time activity for them. The kiss of cold air would have their cheeks well rouged while they attempted to hang on to those toboggan ropes as they raced down the hill over and over again.

This Looks Like fun!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

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