After a quick poll on twitter to find out the best place to toboggan in Dartmouth, a winner emerged early on – Brightwood Golf Club.
Even with temperatures dropping to -15 degrees with a bitter wind chill, there were still a number of people braving the weather in the name of speed.
Donald Thompson and his son Noah hit the slopes at Brightwood for one last hurrah before the return of classes on Jan. 3.
“I got off work early today, so I thought I might as well make the best of it, and that’s why we’re out here today,” said Thompson, while holding an old-fashioned wooden toboggan. “We were here yesterday as well. It’s a great spot for sledding. We like the old school style toboggan because we can easily ride it together, but I imagine when he gets older, he’ll want his own sled to ride."
Another spot some people use is the Dartmouth Common, near the gazebo. It’s a shorter ride with a steep grade. But Thompson prefers the golf course.
“We like Brightwood a lot because there are lots of different hills to choose from,” Thompson said. “It’s got nice rolling hill features.”
Cross-country skiers and dog walkers looking for pristine snow-covered terrain also use the course.
Brothers Josh and Anthony Bernas were out enjoying the hills before university classes started, proving tobogganing is for all ages.
“Sledding is a huge part of the winter for us, we look forward to it every year,” said Josh Bernas, holding a large inflatable sled. “We get all of our gear together and blow off some steam, it’s just fun.”
The Bernas brothers also head to Grandview Golf and Country Club near Cole Harbour for some sledding as well, if they’re looking for something different.
Josh, a self diagnosed speed demon, said he prefers to use a wooden toboggan so he can wax it up for even more speed. Although he cautions this method because “there’s not much padding.”
“I’m a pretty avid skier as well,” said Josh. “But I like tobogganing just as much, because hitting jumps and cruising down a hill at full speed is just fun.”
They live less than five minutes from Brightwood, so they say going there to sled is an easy decision.
“I’m more of a snowboarder myself,” Anthony added. “But a trip to Martock can be a long drive, so I’d rather come here just for the excitement and the adrenaline rush.”
HRM’s safety tips for tobogganing
Ensure children wear a helmet at all times.
Check the hill before you go down to ensure it is safe and free from trees, rocks, fences or other obstacles.
Never Toboggan on, or onto a roadway or parking lot.
Check that the toboggan or sled is in good condition and there are no sharp edges or broken parts.
Don't Toboggan at night or dusk as visibility is reduced.
Maintain control and look for a clear path before you go.
If a slope is beyond your ability or conditions become unsafe don't go down the hill.
Never toboggan near or onto a lake, river or other ice.
Toboggan on snow - avoid icy hills that can cause excessive speed.
Teach children to sit forward, not backwards, head first or lying down, to get out of the way at the bottom of the hill and to roll off the toboggan if heading for danger.
Avoid scarves, loose clothing and tie up long hair that can get caught.
Teach children to slide down the middle of the hill and climb up the sides.
Obey age limits for snow racers.
Children under 5 should not go down the hill alone - get a toboggan that is large enough for an adult to go down with the child.
Choose a sled that is sturdy and easy to control.
Have only the recommended number of passengers on a sled or toboggan at one time.
Try to maintain safe speeds that will allow you to have the control to stop if you need to.
Good places to toboggan in Dartmouth:
Brightwood Golf & Country Club
Downtown Dartmouth, School Street
Woodside Industrial Park
Various Locations, Research Drive, Neptune Crescent
Penhorn Mall Area
Steeper Slopes, use caution, Portland Street
Southdale North Woodside Elementary
Small, easy hill, Hastings Drive
Near the Gazebo, Alderney Drive
Grandview Golf & Country Club
Near Cole Harbour, Crane Hill Road