Sledding on Art Hill
St. Louis may not get several feet of snow, or even a consistent dusting every winter, but if snow falls, you can bet on people rushing to the stores, buying up all the sleds and heading to the iconic St. Louis landmark, Art Hill.
Art hill is a massive hill that starts in front of the St. Louis Art Museum, and slopes down into a large pond. Throughout the warm months, it serves mostly as a spot to stand for a pretty view. However, when snow accumulates, the hill is transformed into the unofficial sledding spot for the entire city of St. Louis.
Let it snow!
I freaking love snow. I will put up with months of miserable winter weather for a few good days of beautiful snow. I don’t mean flurries or slushy mush that just makes the streets unpleasant. I’m talking about snowman making, snowball packing, sledding extravaganza snow. This past weekend, St. Louis finally got a respectable snowfall of a few inches. It may not seem like much to those of you who are used to counting your snowfall by the feet (or meters), but here in St. Louis, this was serious business.
If you live in St. Louis and haven’t gone sledding on Art Hill, you are wasting your life
Pedro is Puerto Rican. He spent his entire life on a island that will never, ever see any snow. He hates winter with a passion. However, when he saw how outrageously excited I was about grabbing my sleds (I have two on hand, just in case!) and heading to Art Hill, he figured it was worth the risk of getting soggy, wet, and cold out in the snow. He didn’t complain once.
Pretty amazing, right?
This massive hill is so wide that it allows for huge groups of people of all ages to swarm the area without making it feel overly crowded. Everyone has space to hop on their sleds and take the long ride down. Families walking up the hill dodge speed racing teenagers sliding down on their stomachs. Kids scream with delight as they go careening off course. More intense children pack snow to build ramps for anyone to take a shot at. The scene is pure, glorious chaos and there isn’t a frown in sight.
It’s a workout
I have to say, I was pretty impressed by the super dads who were willing to drag a sled full of kids back up the hill after their ride down. The hill is tall and steep, so it’s quite a workout just to carry your own weight back up the hill. According to my FitBit, I walked up the equivalent of the Worlds Tallest Bridge, or 115 flights of stairs, during the 1 1/2 hours I was sledding.
Art Hill is where St. Louis memories are made
Although I grew up in the suburbs, much too far away from Art Hill to experience it as a child, I have gone sledding on Art Hill many times as an adult. Each time is as memorable and incredible as the last. The atmosphere is perfect. It’s not just that the hill itself is supreme sledding ground, it’s also that absolutely everyone is there to go sledding and have a good time. On New Years Eve, we got about 1 1/2 inches of snow, hardly enough to do much with. I adore snow though, so I went running and diving onto my sled on the tiny little hill in front of my apartment. The amount of stares I got was obnoxious. Everyone was judging me for being an adult playing with her dog and a sled in the snow. My uninhibited joy seem to annoy or worry them. At Art Hill, you will never suffer that kind of judgement. You are more likely to get high fives for an awesome run or particularly hilarious wipeout.
All and all, I cannot think of a better way to spend a Sunday in St. Louis.