Nothing says “winter” like sledding. A stereotypical snow day activity, referenced in basically every form of Christmas media, sledding is an iconic part of the season. All that’s needed is snow, a hill and a sled; it is that easy. Luckily, the High Country is home to many hills, gets a lot of snow and has places to get sleds, meaning the activity is a fun and easy addition to any winter schedule.
There are many different kinds of sleds, from the traditional wooden ones to dog sleds and large sleighs, there are many different ways to slide across the snow. The most popular form is one or a couple of people riding down a hill with modern, plastic sleds. Made in the shape of saucers, foam cushioning can act as shock absorption for one to two people. Some sleds are built with steering mechanisms, making them easier to control, while others just go with the weight of the passengers.
Like any other outdoor activity in the winter, sledding is best to be done when wearing layers. Outerwear that doesn’t soak up water is the best choice, since it is not uncommon for sledding to end with passengers lying in a pile of soft snow. Likewise, a helmet is never a bad idea, especially if you are sledding in an area that is steep or has a long ride.
Be sure to be aware of what is at the bottom of the hill. Making sure nobody can get hurt is paramount to any outdoor activity, and sledding is most fun when there is no pain. At the same time, the best ending to a sled run is with a gentle stop and a laugh, not crashing into another person.
As for where to go, any hill is an opportunity to sled. Whether or not you decide to choose it can be based on personal preference and experience.
From December through early March, Beech Mountain is a great place to go for sledding. Three stores within walking distance of the sled hill can rent or sell plastic sleds if you do not bring your own, and safety personnel are always around, just in case.
People are encouraged to call (800) 468-5506 to receive live updates on sledding conditions.
The most important facet of sledding is the easiest, just have fun.