Saturday, December 13, 2008

Can Sledding be SCARY?

Today Coretta and I (Nick) got in our car with the Burkert family (also from my work) and headed an hour and half into the mountains for some sledding. We were to meet a number of friends from work, both young and old.

Growing up in Duluth, I figured I was pretty good at sledding...I mean the town is just one really big hill and I recall having spent a lot of time as a kid in a snowmobile suit. But I wasn't quite prepared for our adventure at Wildhaus-Gamplutt.

It all started when we jumped in a gondola for a 15 minute ride up the mountain. Once to the top, we picked out our sleds. We were told that the best sleds were these butt-sized sleds with a handle that was like a gear shift. What I would soon learn is that experienced sledders learn how to distribute their weight to steer, and, more importantly, brake! Apparently my butt is not that talented...yet?
The hill was steep, slick, windy, and seemingly never-ending. Frequently I would roll off the sled to stop, because the speed was overwhelming, and my vision would be completely obstructed by the snow spray covering my face. It was really fantastic, but often scary even for an old pro like me. At one point, I was going so fast I couldn't stop -- not with my feet, my legs, or my butt -- and my face was filling up with ice. For just a moment I resigned myself to the idea that death awaited - I would hit a tree and be squished. I layed my body down on the ground, and waited for angels, speaking to me in singsong Swiss-Deutsche, to swoop me up to Meine Fuhrer. Luckily there was no tree and I made it off the hill alive.

We took our time up and down the mountain, pacing ourselves as we alternated between fits of very intense, "extreme sledding," and appreciation of family, friends, and some amazing views!

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