Being Texans, my kids and I have conjured various images of sledding that we finally got to experience our first winter in Virginia. That winter we had about 4 major snow storms that left a wonderfully knee to thigh deep thickness of snow on the hill beside our house. How incredible to merely step outside and begin sledding? Except we didn't have any sleds. Everyone told us not to expect much snow, that Virginia wouldn't get any more snow than we ever did in San Antonio. Oh my that was an understatement! However I did believe them so when we got one big snow I thought that would be our once in a lifetime chance at sledding. Little did we know there would be numerous more snowstorms not only that year but in the years to come! However that first winter we were lacking sleds...and so were the stores. We asked my Upstate New York hubby for sledding ideas but he didn't seem too interested. So I asked all my girlfriends in our homeschool yahoo group and they were fantabulous to give me a gazillion ideas! Because the local stores were lacking in sleds the kids and I dug around the house for various accoutrements including:
...plastic tubs and their lids which resulted in this response to my friends (links at the dates with pictures of our feeble and sometimes successful attempts...all hilarious!):
"The kids are out on their second round of learning how to have fun in the snow. This morning was a comedy of errors, I think because it is dry snow. I was busy with a few things and when I went out to check, they couldn't sled on a plastic lid because it sunk in the snow. Oh, I forgot to tell them to pack the snow down. They had some trouble. It was hilarious watching them trying to pull each other on the lid to pack down the snow. They went nowhere. Then they came in for cocoa and lunch and threw things into the dryer. We were brainstorming and my son said he would stand on the lid and stomp on it and move it down the hill to make a path. Then he said he wanted to make a lip for the lid to shovel the snow out of the way, because the lid kept running into the drifts. So I told him to just use the tub that went with the lid." 12-19-09
...then plastic trays and inflatable inner tubes which resulted in this reply to my friends:
"...we have well over foot of snow and it's still heavily snowing. Dry snow. The kids have finally packed down a path and they still can't get a homemade sled to go downhill. I feel so sad for
them. They'll likely never see this much snow at once again. We have broken all snowfall records for December." 12-19-09
That resulted in many tips to enhance the laws of physics which resulted in major experimentation! My son loves physics so he was totally up to the challenge! After trying candle wax, wax paper, Pam, and various other slick stuff upon our various collected assortments, we discovered that the previous homeowner had left excess linoleum in the basement storage closet...
"Today we used linoleum and I went the furthest and fastest! That was fun! After I went indoors to finish dinner, the linoleum ripped in half. My son is now making a new sled for tomorrow, out of various materials y'all mentioned. Also they made caves." 12-20-09
"My son's new sled was great...too fast on the sled run that has become bumpy. This sled is made from a plastic lid on top of cardboard wrapped in a garbage bag and secured with packing tape from front to back. Thanks for all those tips! The sled run was nice and smooth yesterday but now it's bumpy and makes for wild rides. How do we smooth it out?" 12-21-09
We have since acquired sleds that we finally put to use last month (link forthcoming after I post that story....and our caves have gotten bigger and fancier (when my son is at home to build them).
But first I wanted to share a fun story by Jeff Wilkin for The Daily Gazette from Upstate New York...the yearly Cardboard Cruisers event! Sleds are mainly comprised of cardboard and tape. They are formed in various creative shapes such as my personal favorite, the Millennium Falcon! Here's my favorite rule for the race..."finishers must be in their sleds at the finish line-rather than chasing the sled or being chased by the sled at the conclusion of the race."
Here is the link to a video of the race at Mt. Sabattis. My favorite part is watching the storm troopers and jedi knights with light sabers sled down the mountain in their Millennium Falcon. You know, I never really considered adding the wearing of our costumes to the element of sledding. Hmmm...
I am truly a fan of creativity, family involvement and gatherings of friends far and wide...and especially costumes! This event gets an A+ from me!