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Enjoying the outdoors and the thrill of sledding this winter

During the winter months, it is easy to curl up on the couch in your sweatpants, watch countless hours of Netflix and wait for spring. Yes, it is always nice to catch up on your shows, but winter can also be a wonderful time to enjoy our natural surroundings and the beautiful snow that many people living in other regions may not get to enjoy. I cannot think of a better way to get outdoors, get active and have a blast in the snow than sledding.

There is nothing like the thrill of racing down a snow-covered hill with the cool air on your face and feeling the freedom and excitement that comes with it.

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I have many fond memories of sledding as a child. I can remember my mom bundling us all up and my dad following us down the road to our neighbor's hill with his camcorder in hand. At the end of the giant hill there was a cow pasture protected by a wire fence. The key to not getting caught up in the fence was to roll off of the sled before we reached the bottom of the hill. My dad got some great video footage of us whooping it up on that hill, trying out different sleds and saucers, and making jumps out of the snow.

Despite the fact that I am all grown up now, I can still enjoy playing in the snow with my son. Watching his eyes light up and the big grin on his face as he sleds down the same hill as I did is priceless. We usually head back to where I grew up to sled, but I decided to search out some new sledding hidden gems in the Baltimore County area, so he could enjoy the snow close to home with some of his friends from school.

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My brother-in-law, Drew, grew up in this area and suggested we check out an awesome hill in front of the Baltimore County Board of Education building in Towson at 6901 Charles Street. He said that tons of locals come to this hill for snow day sledding fun, and that it is a wide, long hill with a nice dip at the end that gives you some good air at the end of the ride.

While visiting Oregon Ridge Park, on Beaver Dam Road in Cockeysville, my son and I hiked past what was once an old ski slope at the park. After inquiring, we found out that even though the old rope tow is no longer functioning, the large slope is still a hotspot for sledding and tubing. I can imagine you could pick up some nice speed on that hill.

If you are looking for a great sledding hill a bit closer to home, there are sledding hills behind Franklin Elementary School and Cedarmere Elementary School in Reisterstown.

Many of my son's friends who attended Glyndon Elementary School would sled on the hill by the soccer field on the left of the school, as well.

Hannah More Park on Reisterstown Road also has a large hill leading down to the sports fields behind the playground. The hill is large enough that you can get some good speed, but short enough that the trek back up isn't so bad.

Wherever you go, sledding is sure to give you a rush of excitement, especially for those adventurers out there. And it's the sense of adventure that makes for great memories. One former Reisterstown resident I spoke with said she can still remember sledding down a clearing in the Sunnybrook neighborhood that was dubbed "suicide hill" when she was a child. Sledding can really bring out the fun in the otherwise frigid days of winter.

So start greasing up those sleds, because snow is on its way this winter and memories are bound to be made while racing down these local hills. Of course, be sure to use precaution while sledding, as well. Ski helmets are a good form of protection as well as parent supervision and remaining seated when on your sleds.

Kelly Scible is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached at kellyscible@gmail.com.

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