Slide Into the Season at These Local Sledding Hills
safely spend the season sledding through snow-filled slopes
Hayley Jacobson, photos by Andrea Paulseth |
With chilly weather and snow-filled days soon upon us, there are plenty of amazing sledding hills to occupy your day. Eau Claire’s Pinehurst Park is renowned for its formidable sledding hill: Volume One readers have ranked it the area’s No. 1 sledding hill for seven consecutive years in our Best of the Chippewa Valley poll. For something a bit lighter, head over to Northstar Middle School, or check out the ever-popular Seven Bumps Hill next to Forest Hill Cemetery in Eau Claire. If you prefer skiing over sledding, visit the Hickory Ridge Cross-Country Ski Trails in Bloomer or Tower Ridge Recreation Area’s ski trail near Eau Claire, both of which offer about 20 kilometers of winding scenic trails to meander on a sunny winter’s day.
LOCAL SLEDDING SPOTS
Drainage Ditch Run Menomonie It’s a crazy drainage ditch on the southeastern side of Lake Menomonie that leads out onto the lake. It might be a lot of fun, but definitely watch out for the black ice.
Dunn County Snow Park 620 17th St SE, Menomonie On the east side of the fairgrounds, there’s a hill that the water tower sits on, ominously looming over the site. Volunteers have recently spend a lot of time clearing brush, stumps, and debris from the hill, then setting up erosion precautions to create a low maintenance yet fun place for local snow goers. Like any hill, it’s still “ride at your own risk.”
The Flats Hill Eau Claire Look to the left going down Pumphouse Road hill, descending from the East Hill of Chippewa Falls, and you’ll find winter bliss just waiting. A sledding hill for all ages and skill levels, this place is wide open, with little to no risk of hitting any trees. Be careful of your speed, though, because legends of the hill have been known to clear the train tracks with one epic run.
Forrest Hill aka “Seven Bumps” aka “Dead Man’s Hill” Eau Claire Right next to the Forrest Hill Cemetery (on Huebsch Boulevard) on the East Side Hill, the slope is small and gentle with no major obstacles. (Just the thing for weak-hearted novices.) In recent years, its easy accessibility has made it a favorite among area snowboarders, but don’t be intimidated by them. If there is an altercation over a collision, they will have a hard time chasing you with their feet strapped to those boards.
Mount Simon 100 Addison Ave., Eau Claire 49-acre park located on Dell’s Pond with access off either Madison Street or Birch Street. This park offers a boat landing and dock, 2 picnic pavilions, 2 lighted sand volleyball courts, and an 9-hole disc golf course. Mt. Simon Park is also home to Eau Claire’s Babe Ruth Baseball program.
Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds Back Entrance 225 Edward St., Chippewa Falls The walk-in entrance to the grounds across from Irvine Park provides a perfect pat to safely walk to the top of a rather steep hill. Low person-on-tree collision rates have kept local kids sliding there for years.
Oakwood Hills Eau Claire There’s a great little (unsupervised) hill near the Oakwood Hills Warming House on Golf Road. The hill is open Sat. and Sun. 1-6pm, and could be a pleasant alternative to some of the aforementioned and slightly more treacherous places.
Pinehurst Hill 3523 Delbert Road, Eau Claire • eauclairewi.gov On Eau Claire’s north side, the behemoth Pinehurst Hill stands as the mother of all sledding hills. This formidable giant was a downhill ski run with a towrope throughout the early 70s. Be careful: if you don’t brake or turn, you’ll end up in a parking lot. Try not to hit anyone climbing up the hill, and pay attention so you don’t get hit yourself.
UWEC Campus Hill Eau Claire Feeling adventurous, or perhaps like getting flat-out arrested? It has long been rumored that the most exciting hill in Eau Claire is also one of the most rare. With the perfect conditions, “The Hill” shooting down from upper campus gets covered with freezing rain then snow and becomes completely impassible. Mach 2 is potentially capable, but make sure to dodge the gate at the bottom... and the cops.
X-Hill Eau Claire Just across the road from Chippewa Valley Airport’s runways, it’s a real treat when jets fly overhead, close enough that you can feel your chest rattle. A crisscross hill unofficially called the “X-Hill,” you can start at one of two steep, twin trajectories that cross each other at a wicked intersection before going off in any number of directions. This is never the same ride twice and the risk for some intense crashes is high. So if you are on the hill, consider yourself forewarned and, therefore, fair game.