Tobogganing & Snow Sledging in Vancouver, alas, with an ambulance..

Tobogganing and Sledding in VancouverWell, and we carry on with a series of stories about winter entertainments/sports in Vancouver. Today I’m writing about down-the-hill tobogganing. Ye, there are some hills and slopes like the most beautiful ones in North Vancouver, yet they say, the hill in Burnaby, at the Burnaby Mountain Park is the best one and the coolest. Unfortunately, winters here are too short and may last for only a week or so, and with it the snow is gone.

Having taking all that into consideration, we left for the Burnaby Mountain, which is located right at the Simon Fraser University. It was an excellent winter day, with the sun poking out of the clouds, coldness, and, well, lots of snow. The last thing is the most essential factor when tobogganing, you know. The descent is approximately about 150-170 meters, and it is important to note that the hill is rather steep and kind of unsafe. Why? First, there is a probability to jump out onto the driveway, unless you use some sort of a brake to come to a halt. Alas, you cannot engage your leg or arm in some circumstances. Second, all the people go down the hill somewhat in a chaotic way, without paying attention to others, and they are climbing up against the sliding folks. Or, let me paraphrase and say that those who are climbing up and dragging theirs sleds do not watch out for those who are coming down. Due to this kind of a controversy, accidents happen..

Yet, the main advantages of the Burnaby mountain is its steep and breathtaking slope which is about 100 meters wide, and definitely everyone will enjoy it in full. You’ll be carried away by speed, no doubt! It is funny to observe on what kind of ‘sliding materials’ people go down, and they vary tremendously. The most expensive ones are wooden toboggans or the whopm (!), i.e. sleds built out of polymer. They can slide really fast and you are OK to spin – the sleds won’t get stuck. There are also hill-racers like tiny snowmobiles, or all sorts of plastic sledges, — those are the cheapest to purchase. Some people use just flat cardboard sheets wrapped with plastic. Or, believe it or not: I saw someone riding in a boat (they basically use them in summer on water), or inflated mattresses.

As mentioned, it’s not safe on the mountain, and an accident happened while we were there. A young fellow approximately 12-13 years of age hit the big boulder, which sits right at the bottom of the hill. Result — broken arm. The crowd gathered, someone gave him first aid, and then the ambulance arrived in twenty minutes. They put the guy’s arm in cast, led him to the their vehicle, and hauled the poor kid to the hospital.

My five-year son was hit out of balance once, and as for myself, I was about to be run into a couple of times, — I was carried away by taking photos L . Also, I did four-five rides from the very top, manoeuvring between adolescents who were determined to sneak in between fast-moving-down-the-hill-RIDERS. Alas, they didn’t learn their lesson well..

Leaving after three hours’ tobogganing, I was thinking how many times the ambulance might stop by the Burnaby Mountain on that day.


And please ride safe!

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