The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Alexander-Carr Park in Derry. Courtesy photo.

The best sledding hills

While the 2014 Hippo readers poll came out last spring after the last snowstorm, here are the hills you voted for again to keep handy for sledding this winter.
Best of the Best: Derryfield Country Club, 625 Mammoth Road, Manchester
Best of Concord: White Park, 1 White St., Concord
Best of Manchester: Mack’s Apples, 230 Mammoth Road, Londonderry
Best of Nashua: Roby Park, Spit Brook Road, Nashua

Super sledders
Favorite community hills for snowy days


 Every town has one — the steep, the fast, the slippery, the historic — the sledding hill that kids flock to the day after a big snowstorm. 

In Manchester, the hill at Derryfield Country Club is known for being steep and fast, with a short walk back up the hill for more fun.
White Park’s sledding hill has been historically the spot for sledding in Concord. For over 200 years kids of all ages have grabbed a sled, toboggan, saucer or cardboard box (anything that will send you flying) as soon as fresh powder falls. 
“It’s been a city park since the late 1800s, so everybody knows where to sled and where to skate,” David Gill, Concord Park and Recreation director, said. “I think the biggest draw for the sledding hill at White Park is the history and tradition of the field itself. The hill has been used since the ’20s and ’30s as a sledding hill.”
Gill recommends getting straight to White Park the morning after a snowstorm to beat the crowds and slippery conditions.
“It’s a basic hill. It’s pretty steep next to a ball field. The challenge after a big storm is to get there very early,” Gill said. “By the end of the day, it gets pretty icy pretty fast.”
With so many sledders, the snow compacts and the slope slickens, making for a fast and icy ride. Of course, the older kids (and adults) might prefer that, Gill said. 
“It’s a nice, short, steep, fast run. It’s definitely not the longest sledding hill in the world,” Gill said. 
Alexander-Carr Park in Derry is also known as a wintertime destination, and Derry’s recreation department pulls out all the stops to keep it the coolest spot in town.
“There’s a lot of history at Alexander-Carr Park, which makes it unique,” Recreation Director Nicole Ferrante said. “It used to be a skiing hill way back when.”
The park features a lodge with concessions, movies and indoor space for activities. Inside, you can check out old photos of what the lodge used to look like in the hill’s skiing days. The slope even had a pulley system, which since has been removed. 
“It’s unique in the sense that it’s really a community location,” Ferrante said. “The kids really seem to enjoy it and so do the parents.”
When weather permits, the recreation department has staff in the lodge to provide concessions, like hot cocoa, popcorn and hot dogs, as well as facilitate coloring and family movies for kids who have had enough of the snow.
“They love the hot chocolate with whipped cream on top,” Ferrante said.
The hill features three slopes: a smaller section for younger kids, a steeper section and a very, very steep section.
“It’s very fast, we tell people to be very cautious,” Ferrante said. 
The recreation department maintains haybale pathways for kids and families to walk in between on the way back up the hill as well as a barricade to protect the conservation areas surrounding the hill.
Ferrante said that once the snow accumulates, there are natural bumps and curves in the hill, which for older kids, provide a little of a challenge.
“Some people choose to avoid those while other daredevils, not so much,” she said.
In addition to the cocoa and multiple slopes, Alexander-Carr Park also allows snowboards in some sections, which makes it the perfect spot to test out a new board from Christmas or learn the ropes when the park isn’t too busy.
“The facility is generally open once we have a enough snow on the ground,” Ferrante said. “Some seasons [of snowfall] are phenomenal and some not so much.”
Sledding is the everyman’s winter sport, an activity for any kid, of any age, no matter your skill or your sled. Ferrante and Gill recommend bringing a sled you can control, but when it comes down to the style, any sled will do.
“Any kind and every kind is good. I personally like the round plastic saucer one because it’s really fast and it spins around,” Gill said. “No reason to stay inside in the winter in New Hampshire.”
As seen in the January 1, 2015 issue of the Hippo. 

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu