The first winter sport

Remember what snow was like before you discovered edges?

December 24, 2005

You used to have fun sliding — out of control — down a hard-packed, snow-covered hillside. So much fun that you’d trudge back up the moment your sled stopped.

Remember?

You’d trudge back up until your calves and thighs begged you to stop. And then you’d force them to carry you up one more time.

Remember?

Your gloves, made of some kind of water resistant nylon, were saturated. Your toes, frozen. Your elbows shifted around in a persistent puddle of soaked fabric.

But you ignored it. Home would always be warm. And it’d always be there.

Who knew, however, when the next sledding day would come?

Remember?

And then, at some point, sledding became decidedly uncool.

It might have been about the time you discovered Gore-Tex, sharp, metal edges and technique. Or maybe it was when you discovered the opposite sex and varsity sports.

The thing is, though, sledding hasn’t changed much. And Hood River County has some of the best sledding hills around. If you’re fortunate, you have one in your backyard or down the street — and you keep it secret.

If not, you might be wondering where to go in those melting moments after a snow storm.

Fortunately I have explored Hood River County’s (and a little further) topography, in a quest for some of the best, most reliable sledding hills. To find out where to go when there’s snow, when there’s no snow and for a description of what you’ll be getting into, please turn to page A6. (Locations are rated on a 1 to 5 scale, five representing best; 1 representing worst.)

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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