Editorial: It’s all downhill from here
Trent Ernst, Editor
Donna and Jesse have fun at the newly developed sledding hill at the golf course.
Over the weekend, the family and I went out to the newly-developed sliding hill out at the Golf Course. Not going to lie, it was all kinds of awesome.
The sledding hill was created by knocking down a bunch of trees on the slope just to the left of hole 9. By some odd coincidence, this is one of the places my balls usually wind up on my approach shots, so I predict fewer lost balls in the future.
The area is nearly perfect for sledding. Unlike the so-called Play Safe hill, it has a long runout for people going for distance. Oh, just a note to parents and kids. While the sign says Play Safe, the important message is the next line: keep off. That hill is fraught with hazards and many, many kids have been injured there.
That’s one of the great things about the new hill. While somewhere in the distance recesses of time, a previous town council thought “hey, that hill is dangerous and kids are flying out onto the street, let’s put up a fence and a sign that says “Keep Off”, it is this most recent iteration that finally recognized if you’re going to tell kids they can’t play in one area, you bloody well better have an alternative, or they’re not going to listen. (To be fair, there was an alternative built, then abandoned as “too steep and dangerous.”)
But, back to the golf course. It is early season, but on Remembrance Day Monday, there were well over 50 kids and parents out there. While not all the parents participated in the sledding, everyone seemed to be having a blast.
The hill isn’t finished yet. There’s going to be a rule board going up, so that people can play safe. (Play Safe. Get it? Because the other hill is known as…never mind.) And if it hasn’t happened by the time this paper comes out, there will be hay bales put up along the snowfence, which was in turn put up to keep sledders out of the trees on the left-hand side of the run heading downhill.
Unfortunately, there appears to be a bit of a pull to that side, and there was one kid who hit the fence pretty hard while I was there. There’s also rumours that there’s been a broken arm out there already, too, possibly from hitting the fence as well.
In the near future, there will be a warm-up shack out there and, even better an outdoor skating rink. This didn’t happen last year, to my everlasting disappointment, but the year before it was a lot of fun getting out there and watching the kid skate. I might even have to pick up a pair of skates myself this year so I can get out there. Like many grownups, the time since I last skated is measured in decades, not years.
But there is something absolutely magical, even in the watching, of skating after dark, on a crisp winter’s night, with a fire burning nearby, the rhythmic sounds of skates on ice and the northern lights dancing above.
Of course, the rink won’t happen until the weather gets cold enough, but it seems to be taking a turn towards that direction.
The golf course sledding hill and the outdoor rink are two recent innovations in Tumbler Ridge. And one of the great things about a good idea is that it tends to spawn other good ideas. While I was down there talking to some of the other parents, there was discussion of maybe a magic carpet lift in future years (though I for one don’t mind the exercise of walking back up the hill, and I certainly could use it).
Another idea was to have it as a sliding hill in the summer, too, by covering a portion of it with poly. There might be some conflict between the sliders and the golfers, and nobody wants a five-year-old getting nailed by a slice from a seven iron, but we’re just spitballing here. Me? I’d love to see an adventure skating route. An outdoor rink is a great idea, but I can’t help but look at places like the Rideau Canal in Ottawa and think wouldn’t it be fun to be able to skate along a route for a couple kilometers without going in circles. This is why I don’t use treadmills; the idea of walking in one place doesn’t appeal to me. And skating around in circles? Better, but not by much.
But what if it were possible to skate along one of the creeks? Or to set one of the hiking trails for skating? It couldn’t be something like, say, the bald spot trails, but there’s a couple fairly level routes around here that would be possible.
How about you? Is there anything you’d love to see around Tumbler Ridge that would convince you to get out and play in the snow rather than sitting there in undies watching old episodes of X-Files on Netflix? A biathalon league? Competitive snowfort building? Team snowball fights? What would coax you out of your comfort zone?