Let it snow … and break out those shovels!

One year ago, we were facing an epic Vancouver Snowmageddon. This weekend the flurries begin and it’s a good reminder to all to prepare for salting and shovel duty on the sidewalks that line your property. Last Christmas, we ranted about the difficulty faced by those in wheelchairs or pushing strollers (and really, anyone at all) to walk our slippery streets when the snow is left to ice over. Don’t be the one all the neighbours scowl at as they walk past.

Your sidewalk should look like this:

A well-maintained sidewalk on 5th St. Photo: Waferboard
A well-maintained sidewalk on 5th St. Photo: Waferboard

NOT this:

Naughty property owners on 4th St. have doomed pedestrians to slide down icy 4th St. Photo: Dennis Sylvester Hurd
Naughty property owners on 4th St. have doomed pedestrians to slide down icy 4th St. Photo: Dennis Sylvester Hurd

Despite sidewalk woes, I do love the snow. Here are some of my favourite snowy photos from previous New Westminster snowfalls:

A quiet, snowy street in New West. Photo: Graham Ballantyne.
A quiet, snowy street in New West. Photo: Graham Ballantyne.
A creative snow elephantman at the Quay. Photo: BCOL CCCP
A creative snow elephantman at the Quay. Photo: BCOL CCCP
Snow covers the playground at Queen's Park. Photo: juki_ruki
Snow covers the playground at Queen's Park. Photo: juki_ruki
The cannon at City Hall. Photo: Waferboard
The cannon at City Hall. Photo: Waferboard

What New West’s teenage sledders really do

My fair brother posted previously on the many snowy and wonderful ways (and places) that people can sled in our fair city… however timely this may be, what with the freakish sub-zero weather and inches of snow and all, he has made one critical omission.

Ice blocking.

What is this, you ask? Well, in our (usually) temperate climate, what’s a young non-drinking teen to do for fun in a city of hills but no snow?

Answer: Buy a few blocks of ice from your local gas station, and head on up to the steepest sledding hill you know – New Westminsterites (and churchy teens from miles around) flock to Burnaby Mountain Park, mainly, as well as the Eastern Meadow slope of Queen’s Park (ending in McBride Boulevard) and Robert Burnaby Park. If it’s one of the 360 days of our year when we have no snow at all in Vancouver, then you will have an open hill of green, green grass on which to sit your bum-on-iceblock, give a little push and voila! You are off, ice blocking with the best of them.
Link
While this sport has variously been demonstrated on Saved By the Bell and MTV’s Jackass, curiously, this phenomenon seems most common among church teens. Perhaps this population are the only ones crazy enough want to do this while still sober enough to accomplish it. Of the various youth & young adult church groups I went to over my time, they all had this one crazy, seasonless sport in common. While the history of the activity may be debatable, it’s not hard to see why it remains so popular – apparently humankind simply has a mad urge to slide down a hill with a cold hiney once in awhile, regardless of the snow availability. It’s universal.

Evidence #1: GoIceBlocking.com (the Las Vegas Association of pro-Ice Blockers)

Evidence #2: Wikipedia: Iceblocking (written seemingly from an Australian point of view)

Evidence #3: Jamaican Bobsled Team

Sledding Set Slide to Southern Slope

I really can not believe Miss 604 beat me to it!

New Westminster is a haven for snow sledding for the youthful and the young at heart. As any one who has walked uptown from the New Westminster Skytrain station can attest, we have got some hills in this fair city! While there are a good number of sledding sites around the Royal City and a notable one at the North East corner of Queen’s Park, perhaps the snowy hill most slid upon is the one on the South side of Grimston Park, in New Westminster’s West End.

Miss 604 agrees noting briefly that it is “rather tube-friendly”, an important technical detail for the sledding enthusiast. With the long, excitingly steep decline, gradual leveling bottom and stunning Fraser River / Delta Shore views, this park really offers the best slope available for safe sledding. While the diminutive denizens of New Westminster used to freely slide down 6th street and 8th street (a practice now reserved for BC Transit vehicles) the slopes of Grimston Park offer a safer thrill and an alternate “bunny hill” in the park by 7th ave for the young sledding fan that, let’s admit, is still mastering walking.

I would love to post a sledding photo of the Queen’s Park hill or another (perhaps by Richard McBride or Hume Park?) Send us one and we will post it up.