Downhill Adventure

March 1, 2014, Department, by Samantha Bartram

 A young sledder at Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground enjoys the annual toboggan festival.For the past 20 years, folks have been taking to the big sledding hill at Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, for the annual Toboggan Festival. Children, teens and adults wearing colorful parkas and dragging sleds of all shapes and sizes — including the traditional long, wooden toboggan style — try their best to win contests and bragging rights as they hurtle down the park’s steep hill at top speeds.

Competitions like reindeer rodeo, toboggan limbo and pin the nose on the snowman are hugely popular with the younger sledding set, but according to Park Superintendent Justine McCoy, people of all ages enjoy the festival. “I think there were about 100 folks who came out this year,” she says. “People have a really good time — it’s a family event, and a lot of people look forward to it every year. Some go so far as to rent one of our cabins just so they can do the toboggan festival.” 

When it’s time for a break, sledders are welcomed into Chestnut Ridge’s comfortable warming hut, complete with a wood stove, snacks, hot chocolate, coffee and pepperoni rolls for refueling. “Attending the toboggan festival is a wonderful way for people of all ages to get outdoors and enjoy a day playing in the snow,” McCoy says. 

Samantha Bartram is the Associate Editor of Parks & Recreation Magazine.