Just Slide: Sledding for Health
Sledding’s not just fun, it also burns calories and gets you that much-needed vitamin D.
BY THIS POINT in winter, most of us are desperate to get outside for a little sunshine and exercise. If you’re not in the mood to spend your weekend traipsing up north to ski, however, we have a suggestion for you: sledding. Not only is it fun, but it also burns calories (479 per hour, on average) and gets you that much-needed vitamin D. Here, we outline the best hills around and the gear you’ll need to navigate them. Now get sledding!
Where to Go
Brookline: Larz Anderson Park
The long, sloping hill offers a range of options, from short and slow to fast and furious. If you go, expect a crowd, as this is our best (and best-known) sledding spot.
Marlborough: Jericho Hill
Long and steep, this former ski area with a biblical name is strictly for speed demons.
Waltham: Prospect Hill Park
It can be steep in parts, but this long run is more about the cruise than the adrenaline rush.
Brookline: Corey Hill Outlook
The row of trees at the bottom of this short-and-steep hill keeps it free of crowds. Be prepared to bail out at high speeds.
Boston: Boston Common
This kid-friendly spot is short and gentle with a huge runout, but you’ll need well-packed snow to get anywhere.
What To Use
A Helmet: Yup, you need one for sledding now, too. Bike, skateboard, or ski helmets will do the trick.
Flying Saucer: Low friction, which means faster speeds, but there’s no protection from bumps. Also, in bitter-cold temperatures, the plastic becomes brittle.
Flexible Flyer: They boast good steering, but these sleds require a decent snow base for the runners to slide. The “blades” might be dull, but they could still hurt you in a wreck.
Cafeteria Tray: The go-to vehicle for college students sledding on iced-over hills. Beware the front lip: If it snags, you’ll be eating snow.
Snow Tube: This airy seat promotes run-and-jump starts (great for fresh powder) and can absorb bumps, but steering is almost nonexistent.