#72: Sled Anywhere on Grounds


When we were children, we all loved the winter weather – which meant snow days, building snowmen, and of course – going sledding. In college, we still appreciate the rare snow day that usually doesn’t involve cancelling class (except one Friday in January 2010), but does involve some adventure.


When walking to and from class, U.Va. students tend to despise the hilly nature of Grounds.  Once it snows, however, those hated hills become the perfect spot to sled down. Some favorite spots are: the hill next to the stairs by the parking garage leading down to Emmet St., the short hills on the Lawn, the hills surrounding Mad Bowl, and the slope by Brooks Hall.


One hill I would not recommend for sledding is the one by Perry-Fishburne Tennis Courts near old dorms. There was an incident my first year when my two friends and I, after consuming a few beverages, decided to go night sledding on this particular hill. Considering the steep slope culminated with a sidewalk, my friends and I made plans to bail halfway down the hill to spare the dangers of landing on the pavement. My two friends performed this motion flawlessly, only returning to the top of the hill with a few scrapes. Seeing as my reflexes were a bit delayed due to said beverages, I missed the time window I needed to bail and shot out into the air. I was airborne for probably only about two seconds, but it seemed like time had stopped in those instants. Landing on the pavement knocked the wind out of me, but I otherwise felt okay. The pain didn’t set in until hours later and I ended up having to take a trip to the student health center. They bandaged my knee and sent me on my way.


“As a first year living in old dorms, it was easy to get stir crazy over the long winter months. Finally it snowed and we were dying to try out that steep hill by the outdoor basketball courts. Pizza boxes or any piece of scrap cardboard we could find suited our needs to have a blast going down that steep hill, especially since there was a light coat of ice on top of the snow. I didn’t have my snow pants, but I sure didn’t care about muddying up my yoga pants and sweatshirt on the worn away ground because so many other people had our same idea,” said fourth year College student Elida Opitz.


We all remember when we returned for the spring semester of our first year when “Snowpocalypse” blew through Charlottesville, wreaking all sorts of havoc during the first days of the new term. U.Va. cancelled class for the first time in years, sororities and fraternities postponed Recruitment events, and students started their weekend celebrations early. This was also the winter that the 40 foot-pile of snow plowed in Barracks shopping center earned the nickname “Mount Barracks.” Students risked their personal safety to climb the revered mountain of snow, which had a Facebook page dedicated to it, with 3,000 fans. There was even a flag placed at the top for those brave souls that first conquered this great feat. “Mount Barracks” didn’t even melt until at least early April. “Snowpocalypse” will forever live in our college memories as the best and most tumultuous way to ring in a new semester.


So grab a plastic disc, a tray from the dining hall, or cover a pizza box with a plastic grocery bag (it does work, I promise), because your chances to go sledding on Grounds are dwindling!