If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the outdoors is a safe place to play.
Even in the winter.
And especially when we, finally, have enough snow to enjoy some sledding.
“Soar down the snow-covered hills at Bowman (Hills), Jones and Shawnee parks,” the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation writes on its “winter recreation” portion of its website. “The sledding hills open when enough snow accumulates to completely cover them.”
“OnlyInYourStates” ranks the 10 best sledding hills in Iowa and two Eastern Iowa spots made the list — Jones Park in Cedar Rapid at No. 9 and F.W. Kent Park in Oxford at No. 10.
“This picturesque 1,052-acre park three miles west of Tiffin is one of Iowa’s premier county parks, especially during winter, when the area is transformed into a sledder’s paradise,” the webstie writes about Kent Park.
For the record, the Seven Oaks Recreation is Boone has the best hill in Iowa, according to the site.
Squaw Creek Park and Roosevelt Middle School are other popular spots to sled in Cedar Rapids.
Some of the top places in Iowa City are behind Weber Elementary, Hunter’s Run Park, behind West High School, behind Longfellow Elementary, Hickory Hill and at old Hoover Elementary, by Court Street.
In Mount Vernon, “sled down the famous Pres Hill in the winter, when the City of Mount Vernon closes one of the steepest streets in town for a public sledding hill,” according to Visit Mount Vernon-Lisbon.
Wherever you find a hill to sled, follow these safety tips from the Cedar Rapids Parks and Rec site:
l Sledding can cause severe injuries. Sled at your own risk.
l Choose a hill that has a gentle slope and that is free of obstacles such as trees, signs, fences, rocks, river, parked or moving vehicles, railway track and holes or jumps.
l Sled during the daylight or on a well-lit hill.
l Dress properly, protecting hands feet, and your face from the cold.
l Tuck in any scarves, strings or long hats that could potentially catch on a rock or tree and cause strangulation or other serious injuries.
l Sled by sitting or kneeling down. Never go down head first or standing up.
l Check your sled for cracks or damage before use. Choose sleds that you can steer or stop.
l Have only the recommended number of passengers on a sled at one time.
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l Wait until the path is clear before starting down the hill. This could help prevent you from running into another person on your way down.
l Move out of the way quickly if you fall or stop suddenly.
l Walk back up the side of the hill, away from others sledding.
l Parents should go on sleds with children under the age of 5.
l Have an adult supervise children while they are sledding.
l Avoid hills that are too icy; you want to be able to stop if needed.
l Avoid overcrowding a sled or toboggan with too many riders.