Winters like this one, snowy and cold, tend to result in one of two reactions. Parents groan, thinking about shoveling out driveways and sidewalks, and kids are overjoyed with the prospect of Heavy Sledding Ahead!
Billings is home to several good sledding hills, and sleds fly off the shelves of hardware, feed, and “big box” stores as fast as the boxes arrive on the truck.
As soon as school lets out in the afternoons, popular sledding hills begin filling up for the hour or two of sled-time before dark, but most of the local sledding action takes place on the weekends. With a thermos full of hot cocoa and fresh, dry socks for cold feet, it’s easy to spend a few hours soaking up whatever vitamin D is available on a bright Saturday!
Billings’ Best Sledding Spots
Pioneer Park, located north of Billings Senior High, is the historically most popular sled zone in town. It is roughly bowl-shaped, flattening out toward the high school, and hills range from fairly steep to long and slow. What makes the park fantastic in the summer (lots of big trees) is also something to keep an eye on for inexperienced sledders, giving us Helicopter Moms a place to shine and stretch our legs. There is definitely plenty of room for everyone, and every style and experience-level of sledding.
Sacajawea Park, located off Monad between 24th and 19th streets, features a long and fairly gentle slope perfect for younger sledders, with more experienced sled athletes happily building ice ramps and angles to maximize speed and distance on other parts of the hill.
Rimview Park, located right off Rimrock a bit east of Shiloh, is a newer park with a U-shaped bowl featuring slopes perfect for sledders of all ages.
Heading further east, at the entrance to Ironwood subdivision, the wide hills have plenty of room for sledding, and incline varies for sledding speeds.
Just past there leading out of town, Phipps Park is a bit more rugged, but I’ve seen diehard sledders giving it a go. Watch for snow-submerged rocks which can crack open a sled faster than you can yell CALVIN AND HOBBES RIDE AGAIN! “The Hill” is a hardcore hiking challenge in good weather… only the wildest craziest bravest sledsters might try any part of that. Please wear a helmet.
Out of Billings proper, behind the school in Lockwood there are reported good hills, saving a drive for locals around there.
Wherever you and your family head for your sledding adventure, be sure to take photos! And, don’t forget that hot cocoa…