Now that it’s well below freezing, and there is more than a foot of snow on the ground, it’s finally time for everybody’s favourite winter pastime. If you said skating, hockey, the luge, skiing, snowboarding, or anything stupid like that, you lose. I speak, of course, of tobogganing. Nothing beats the magic of flying down a seventy-five degree angled sheet of ice on what amounts to a strip of wax paper before hurtling off of a makeshift jump like a rogue cannonball.
Okay, maybe a lot of things beat that feeling, but the second before you crash-land onto the earth, and your lifeless corpse slides facedown the rest of the hill, there is no denying that you feel like an invincible sky god. We here at the Carillon love us some tobogganing. As such, we’ve decided to compile a pretty sweet Holiday Advice Guide to maximize your tobogganing experience this winter season.
Like the noble knights of Camelot, the first thing you need to decide on is your noble steed. You’re going to need a reliable beast to carry you (relatively) safely from the top of the hill down to the bottom. Those traditionalists may take comfort in riding on a plywood tank with steel riding rails, but racking up on that thing is the tobogganing equivalent of a natural disaster. Personally, I always rode the flying saucers – those tiny discs of blue and red plastic that looked like upturned condoms. It was even more fun if you had a partner who was willing to give you a spin as they pushed you off the top of the hill.
Once a decision is reached, it’s time to decide on appropriate clothing. Now, as much fun as it is to see shirtless skeezoids get icy road rash when they wipe out, it’s safe to say they’re not having a good time. Wearing a coat isn’t exactly a bad idea. If you don’t have long hair to blow triumphantly in the wind as you whiz down the hill, then a long scarf is also something you’ll want to look into. Finally, and this may sound goofy, but a bike helmet is also not a bad idea. If you should crash, at least you’ll protect your melon – and possibly the aforementioned triumphantly blowing long hair.
Next on the toboggan to-do list is to assemble some provisions. When gathering necessities, it is important to determine the length of your tobogganing adventure. If you are going out for a few hours, a flask of whiskey and a Thermos full of soup will be great things to end the day with. If the adventure is going to be longer, then a flask of soup and a Thermos full of whiskey is likely the order of the day. It is also a good idea to bring along some munchies – they’ll help combat the whiskey. Bringing several bags of assorted snackage to share amongst you and your undoubtedly cold compadres will ensure that there are no hard feelings after you push them down the incredibly bumpy section of the hill.
Speaking of hills, the most important decision you will have to make before embarking is about your destination. Regina is woefully devoid of really sweet tobogganing spots, as Mount Pleasant has declined in recent years. There are several hidden grottoes of surprisingly decent spots in the public parks around town, but if you want a real challenge, you’ll need to head out of town. For a real challenge, one can always tackle the Qu’Appelle Valley, the double-black diamond of the toboggan runs.
When you get to the sledding spot, your final decision will be of role assignment. It is here that you must determine sledding order, paramedic caller, and, if there’s someone who doesn’t wish to partake in the sledding, who will be the sled roadie who waits at the bottom of the hill to carry the rides back up after the run.
Thus concludes the wisdom that we had to impart about tobogganing. Remember to stay safe, have fun, and if there’s a real possibility you could get hurt, make sure someone’s filming. The physical body may die, but the viral YouTube spirit shall live on forever.
Photo by Tenielle Bogdan