Living in middle Tennessee is a bit of a frustration for the snow and outdoor winter sports set…. namely my kiddos. Since they were born in the upper Midwest and grew up sledding every year, often in their own back yard…AND the fact that sledding and snow days are often synonymous. My kids LOVE to go sledding.
If in your mind…you were imagining cute little munchkins all bundled in layers of coats and scarves and little pink mittens…you would be a bit off. Although I remember those days… my kids are a bit older, high school and college aged and still anxious to get to some snow.
The winter of 2011-12 in Nashville was like an extended fall with an early spring, minus the season of winter. No joke, we had like a 10th of an inch of snow for an hour one weekend, just enough to cover the roofs and decks and melt on the roads. School was never interrupted and there wasn’t enough cold stuff to even consider bringing the old sleds out of storage. I promised them that if it didn’t snow… I would take them to a place where there was some and we would get our annual sledding fix!
Due to life and circumstance… that didn’t happen last year.
I was seriously in trouble with the kiddos…. this year I made plans to make sure that wouldn’t be the case. I looked up a place to take them in southern Indiana… Paoli Peaks. At Paoli, they have snow machines that crank out fresh man-made snow 24/7 during the cold-enough winter months and coat enough on their surprisingly steep hillsides to allow for modest amounts of snow boarding, skiing and TUBING!!!
Who wouldn’t want to go snow tubing in January 🙂 ?
So last weekend, I checked the ski resort’s website to make sure they were snow-covered and ready for us and then crammed my kids…including my daughters boyfriend Matthew and his family (Bob-Michelle and Andrew) into our Honda Pilot and we made the 4.5 hour trip from Spring Hill TN to Paoli, IN. Leaving a 5:30am we made it to the ski slopes in record time and despite the obscenely early hour for a Saturday… no one complained!
The ski-tubing area was easily found and after signing our liability rights and lives away on the check in disclaimer…we purchased some 3 hour tickets to enjoy the hill and we’re given our very own snow tubes for the day. Excitedly we lined up on top of the hill and when our turn came we slid down the iced tracks at faster-than-you-were-expecting speeds!
I could hear my gang screaming in sheer exuberance as their lungs came into contact with the adrenaline laced 10 second slide and as they slid to a stop at the bottom… it was like a time warp…. I swear I could hear them say; “Again Daddy! AGAIN!!!”
Oh my gosh… that was some fun. We went up and down that hill twenty or twenty-five times in the next three hours, sliding on our stomach, in pairs (holding on to each others tube handles as both of you slide down together) and trying to make little jumps off the hill as you gather speed over the bumps in the tracks.. oh man it was a BLAST!
This was the next evolution in the art of sledding and I highly recommend it. Our gang of seven LOVED it, and when we got cold we ducked into the little hot-chocolate, pizza and coffee hut to warm up and refuel before bundling back up and diving down the hillside for one more run.
Highly recommend you try this with your families. I saw little ones as young as 3 or 4 years old sliding down with their parent and with the all of the safety measures and personnel around, felt completely safe to do so. The nifty little escalator thingee they have brings you and your tube back up to the top without any fuss and you not only don’t have to exert yourself, you can rest on the way. For those of us in the middle ages…that’s a plus 🙂
The point is this… get out, go places, explore and do it with your families. It doesn’t have to be a big -long-complex ordeal like a RoadTrip, rather it can be a four-hour drive to find snow and fun and memories that will last a lifetime!
God bless you this winter, from RTP!
PS – to find your way to Paoli Peaks, its website is quite helpful and from what we saw a few weekends ago, delivers on their promises, so you and I can deliver on ours!