An insider’s guide to sledding in JCMO.
When thinking of Jefferson City, several things may come to mind – the State Capitol, the Missouri River, Central Dairy, and hills. There are so many hills! So, when winter weather blankets the town with heavy, wet snow, the hills of Jefferson City are alive with sounds of excitement and laughter as sledders race down and climb back up. A sledding day is prime memory-making material. Make those memories even better with some tips and tricks from a couple of fun experts from JC Parks.
Before hitting the snow, don’t forget to gear up. A little planning and preparing goes a long way to ensure an awesome snow day.
• Don’t forget skin protection. Sunscreen isn’t just for summer! Snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. Lip balm and sunglasses are also must-haves.
• Dress for success. Layer up to prevent any exposed skin. Waterproof boots are especially important with a pair of cozy socks. Avoid cotton apparel since it is slow to dry. Snow suits and gaiters work wonders to keep snow from getting to your skin. Tie, tuck, tape, or find whatever you can do to prevent snow from contacting your skin.
• It’s always good to hydrate. It may be cold, and you don’t feel it, but you are sweating under all those layers. Don’t believe it? Sniff a hockey player. Drink plenty of water before and during your sledding fun, or pack a thermos with hot cocoa for a special treat!
Pack some add-ons and up your sledding game! Handwarmers provide instant comfort for cold hands andfeet. Sand toys are perfect for building snow walls toplow through. Build a sledding playlist, and blast it ona portable speaker. Oh, and snacks! Bring all the snacks.Your crew will work up an appetite climbing those hills,and nobody likes a hangry sledder.
Where to Go
When it comes to the best sledding hills in Jefferson City, it’s all about parks and schools. Grandpa wasn’t lying when he said he walked to school uphill both ways. Wherever you choose to luge, make sure your hill isn’t close to traffic, roads, or any drop-offs. Need a little location inspiration? Here are some tried and true spots:
McKay Park, 1700 Southridge Dr.
Known as Sunset Lake until the late 1980s, a dam was constructed to address stormwater issues. The lake and surrounding land became McKay Park, and the hill created by the dam has been a favorite sledding spot ever since. There is plenty of room to spread out, and the steeper slope in areas is perfect for sledders looking fora fast ride.
Ellis-Porter Riverside Park, 300 Ellis-Porter Dr.
With three hill options, Riverside Park is the sledding equivalent to a ski resort. On the west side of the amphitheater, you can find a calmer, longer ride in the open field that ends close to Riverside Pool. And make sure to check out the hill behind Riverside Manor/HawthornBank Box Office. The top of the hill is a tad bit steeper than the previous hill but evens out for a flatter finish at the bottom. Perhaps the most popular spot for sledding at Riverside Park is the hill at Optimist Sports Complex at the park’s east end as it provides a thrilling ride.
Moreau Heights School, 1410 Hough Park Rd.
Lincoln University, 820 Chestnut St.
St. Joseph Cathedral School, 2303 W. Main St.
Choose Your Ride
The OG, the classic, and great for those looking for an upper body workout. Just keep in mind these babies get heavy after lugging them up the hill all afternoon.
Do it for the Instagram. Inflatable snow sleds come in just about every shape and size, making for great. photos. These beauties can be high maintenance between inflating them and patching holes, but dang, they’re cute!
The elongated shape makes this sled style the perfect choice for shared rides. This is the go-to style for families with young kids or pet owners. There’s nothing more adorable than toddlers and dogs on sleds!
Let ‘er rip and hang 10! This is Clark W. Griswold Jr.’s sled of choice for one reason– speed!