Years ago, street crews wouldn't plow or salt certain hilly roads in Chambersburg, Pa., Hancock and Williamsport, and kids would take their sleds to the streets. Increased traffic and safety concerns put an end to that.
Public places in the Tri-State area also get snowed on, and although they may not have star-quality sledding hills, they provide opportunities for fresh air and winter fun.
Junior Mason, superintendent of Hagerstown's Parks and Recreation, is happy to see people using City Park in the winter. Although there are not officially designated sledding areas, there are a couple of favorite spots.
People slide down the hill above the softball field at the back of the park.
Another launching point is the intersection of Key Street and Highland Avenue. The hill takes sledders into the park's north parking lot.
Mason, in the parks department for 29 years, has been sledding a few years longer. He occasionally still stops by to join kids in a sled ride.
Except for Washington County Regional Park on Mount Aetna Road near Black Rock Golf Course east of Hagerstown, gates (and restrooms) are closed at county parks, but visitors are welcome to visit anyway from 9 a.m. to sunset, says Jim Sterling, director of buildings, grounds and parks. Park staff plows the Regional Park parking lot, and Sterling says there were several sledders sliding the weekend of the season's first snow.
There's a little hill behind the fort at Fort Frederick State Park, but the park is not known for its sledding. "It's a nice ride," says Sherian Hose, park staffer. People can cross-country ski on the nearby Western Maryland Trail. The paved surface is smooth and level.
Some other area state parks are not sledding hot spots, but they are open for winter hiking in the snow. In Washington County, Gathland, Greenbrier and South Mountain state parks are open from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Chambersburg's Memorial Park is flat and level, so sledding isn't much of an option, but people cross-country ski, says Herb Dollaway, superintendent, Chambersburg Recreation office.
In Waynesboro, Pa., sledders gather to slide down the hill in front of the old junior high school - across from the hospital on Pa. 16. It's a nice run - away from the road.
- Caledonia State Park, intersection of U.S. 30 and Pa. 233, Fayetteville, Pa. 1-717-352-2161.
People hike and cross-country ski at Caledonia State Park, but there's no sledding. The park is open from dawn till dusk.
- Cowans Gap State Park, 6235 Aughwick road, Fort Loudon, Pa. The park is sandstone and rock, and there are a lot of trees - not conducive to sledding, says Steve Behe, superintendent. But the park is open during daylight hours through the winter months for hiking and cross-country skiing in the snow.
- Ski Whitetail
13805 Blair's Valley Road
Regular snow tubing hours:
4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday
9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday
Rates are $8 to $15 per hour, depending on when and how long.
Participants must be at least 5 years old.
A children's tubing area is available for ages 2 to 4 on a smaller, more gradual slope. Admission is $4 for one hour.
- For information about snow tubing at Ski Liberty in Carroll Valley, Pa., call 1-717-642-8282 or go to www.skiliberty.com on the Web.
- Cacapon Resort State Park, 818 Cacapon Lodge Drive, Berkeley Springs, W.Va. 1-800-CALL WVA
There is no formal sledding in Cacapon State Park, but Tom Ambrose, park superintendent, says there's a decent sledding hill on the east side of the resort's lodge. Cross-country skiing is permitted on the golf course, but not on the tees and greens.
- Coolfont Resort
3621 Cold Run Valley Road
Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
Coolfont hopes to have snow tubing open Christmas Day from noon to 4 p.m. You can tube from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 26, through Monday, Dec. 29; noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 30, through Thursday, Jan. 1; noon to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 2.
Rates are $10 for one hour, $15 for two hours.
Height requirement is 44 inches; ages 18 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
A shuttle transports snow tubers from a parking area to the hill.
Area resorts hope to open snow tubing slopes soon. Call to make sure they are available.