10 ways to get down a hill

In honor of Every Day is a Play Day Week (Nov 14-19) we bring you this post. Thanks go to Active Kids Club and Polarn O. Pyret for sponsoring such an important endeavor. For more ideas on making every day a play day check out these get outside ideas.


It’s snowing here in New Mexico.  For the third time in two weeks.  The leaves are gone, and the poor naked trees look cold and glum.  In an effort to cheer myself up before the impending short and shivery days, I’ve been thinking about winter activities and snowy-fun.  What’s the best part about winter?  How easy it is to get downhill.

Downhill Bliss

Forget the legos.  The building blocks.  The Star Wars figurines and plastic food items.  All a kid really needs to have a good time is a hill.  (And, okay, let’s be honest–all I really need to have a good time…)  Without further ado, I present 10  ways to get down a hill. For those of you who have yet to experience the chill associated with the coming winter, I’ve included several non-snowy options.  I look forward to your own additions in the comments.

  • Sit on a block of ice. Ice blocks cost about $1.69.  The experience of sitting on a block and sliding down a grassy hill is priceless.  I recommend a towel folded over the top to keep your butt from getting wet.  Check with your local park, many allow sliding on their hills in rotation so that no area gets too worn out.
  • Jump.  Dunes, snowy banks, mounds of dirt–anything with a little topography can be used as a jumping platform…A small digression:  Once, when I was about 13, my family headed up into the mountains in early March for a little exploring.  We found a giant snowbank, easily ten feet high, that had calved in the spring sun, creating an upper snow field, and, below the break in the snow, a lower one, very soft and slushy.  The dog went first–not on purpose–he got too close to the edge of the upper snowy-cliff and couldn’t stop sliding.  Seeing that his fate was inevitable he took a flying leap onto the lower bank, and sank safely into its soft and melty top.It looked like fun.  Mom went next, sitting high up on the upper field and sliding to the edge, gathering enough momentum to send her flying through the air, before landing in the slushy field below.  Sus (my sis) was equally graceful.  I should mention here that I’m as timid as a mouse, and as graceful as Big Bird.  I slid down the upper slope, my level of apprehension about this idea to leap off a bank of snow growing in direct proportion to the amount of speed I gathered.  Right at the edge, I balked.Alas, it was too late to stop, and instead of sailing through the air and landing smoothly on my haunches, I merely tipped forward.  My feet planted like fenceposts into the soft snow, and my upper body belly flopped forward, face-planting me and filling my nostrils with wet slush.  Apparently it was the funniest thing my family had ever seen.  I think even the dog was laughing.  The moral of the story is:  once you’ve started down a hill, there is no turning back.  Do not balk or you will end up with something unpleasant in your nose.
  • Sled or inner tube.  Best in the snow, but sleds work in sand and mud too.  Read an earlier post of ours for pointers on how to stop a fast-moving sled.
  • Roll. ’nuff said.
  • Ride a shower curtain. Can’t find an inner tube and need a quick downhill fix?  Let me recommend a good old-fashioned shower curtain.  Works best on icier hills.
  • Ride your snowshoes, on steep enough scree slopes, you can also ride your heels!  I put a video at the end of The one-and-only Outsidemom descending a hill on her snowshoes, she tells me there is a follow-up video that involves more tumbling than riding…
  • Kayak. Sand or snow, kayaks and hills are almost as fun as kayaks and water… okay, I exaggerate a little, but still fun!  Beware:  kayaks go fast in the snow.
  • Run.  The feeling of losing control while running down a hill is both exhilarating and terrifying.  Mostly exhilarating.
  • Ride a cardboard box. Almost all small ski resorts have a cardboard box derby in the spring.  Twine, duct-tape, and cardboard are fashioned into snow-sliders of all kinds.  Check around—many of them are free!

So?  What’d we miss?  Well, aside from your average ski resort options. Rollercoasters?  Waterslides?  Anything else?

Outsidemom shows us how to get quickly down a hill that it took ten minutes to get up:

7 Comments so far

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  1. Great ideas! We’ve set up our annual leaf-sled run on our little hill, and the kids love it as a prelude to “real sledding”. I’m sad to admit that I’ve never gone ice-blocking… I’ll have to fix that.

    I think the only things you left out were tried-and-true (though not usually safe) college traditions of sledding on cafeteria trays or rigging junky furniture into treacherous cushioned toboggans of doom. Hello red velvet loveseat flying down Old Main hill? :)

    • Lindsey

      Kristal – Haaaa. Your right, I think we could have gotten a lot of new material from stalking old main hill for a weekend.

  2. Kari

    Hi Lindsey,
    You have snow? I’m amazed little do I know, we still have no snow in Toronto. I love your ideas, I have to try out to ride a shovel (-:
    Thanks for playing with us.
    I’m archiving all the wonderful post in Every Day is a Play Day” Link Up
    Also make sure you send your link to Linda :

    • Lindsey

      Kari – Hi! I don’t have snow (I’m in Reno) but Olivia, regular contributor to the blog and author of this post (lives in New Mexico) does.

      I can’t believe you have no snow in Toronto! Is this normal?? Thanks for letting us know about the link-up, very happy to be involved!

  3. Lindsey

    Hey Olivia, thanks for the video. I might just have to post that one of you playing National Geographic commentator… ;).

    • You better not! This could start a war–I have a feeling we could throw videos at each other for quite some time… =)

      • *sits quietly and waits for more amusing videos to surface* :)


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

    I don't blog alone! Meet outsidemom contributer Olivia