December 27, 2008 in Washington Voices

SLEIGH TIME, PLAY TIME

Snow brings action to Valley Mission Park sledding hill
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Photos by J. BART RAYNIAK photo

Valley Mission Park turned into a winter wonderland this week. On Monday, Chad Gilbert of Spokane Valley took advantage of the snow.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

The continuous snowfall may have adults muttering under their breath and reaching for snow shovels, but it has kids bursting with excitement and reaching for their sleds.

The sledding hill in Valley Mission Park was doing a steady business this week as parents braved the snarled streets to bring kids down for an hour or two of outdoor fun.

Cole Knop’s thin winter gloves sent him heading for the car after only an hour despite his winter coat and snow pants. The snow was fairly packed, but not too slick. “There’s lots of snow,” said Knop, 7. “It hurts sometimes when you face-plant. I’ve done it four times.”

The park’s parking lot had been plowed, but a freshly plowed snow berm on Mission was causing a bit of trouble for a while as cars struggled to burst through the mound of mushy snow to get back into the street. Tires spun on repeated attempts until drivers figured out it was better to back up, wait for a gap in traffic and then make a run for it.

Sam Stachofsky brought his four kids, his visiting brother-in-law Doug Havde and his three kids, plus three other young cousins out for a day of sledding. “The dads are playing and the moms are shopping,” Stachofsky said. Getting to the park was a bit tricky, however. “Doug put chains on the van. Whatever we need to do for the kids, right, Doug?”

The ride down was quick and easy, but kids had to struggle up the hill as best they could, keeping an eye out for sledders speeding down the hill packed two or three to a toboggan. They would halt their climb, gauging the path of the oncoming sled and waiting until the last minute to jump clear. Bumps on the hill sent many a sledder flying before they got to the bottom of the hill.

“I got a wipeout,” said Richele Stachofsky, 10. “I was in front and snow just came up and I fell out. We went over a bump.”

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Rose was one of the few on the hill with a snowboard and said he was taking a break from snowboarding on the mountain. “I actually went up yesterday,” he said. “It cost a lot of money.”

So when Rose took his little brothers sledding, he decided to do some free snowboarding. But it wasn’t long before the fun started to wrap up in the snow and the cold. “I guess the kids are getting hungry,” he said.

After trudging back up the steep hill repeatedly got too tiring, some kids flopped back on the ground to make snow angels in between trips. Others sat and watched people go tearing down the hill.

After some trips down by himself, Caleb Saladin decided he needed a heavier sled to go down faster and asked his uncle, Doug Havde, to ride down with him. “Go with you?” Havde said. “You’ll get me killed.”

In the end, however, Havde relented. After all, dads – and uncles – have to have a little fun, too.

Nina Culver can be reached at 927-2158 or via e-mail at ninac@spokesman.com.


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