Okay. Toboganning isn’t an Olympic sport. But it was in the spirit of the Olympics that we trekked out in 17*F (-8.3*C) weather to slide down the ice like the lugers and bobsledders we’ve been watching in Sochi. We weren’t the only ones; far from it. On what we Cincinnatians consider a bitterly cold day, Clevelanders were out in droves. We waited in line for an hour to hurtle down the toboggan chute at what felt like 70 miles an hour. The ride was over in a minute.
Then we trekked up the stairs, stood in the freezing cold dusk, and did it again.
For $10/person, you could ride the chutes all day at The Chalet in Strongsville, Ohio. It is a unique part of the Cleveland MetroParks that topped our list of things to do on a weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. Especially in the dead of winter (January, February, March), which is the only time the toboggan chutes are open. If it gets too warm, or the ice is affected, the chutes close. So the toe-tingling frigid temps meant we were in luck.
We climbed aboard our toboggan. Four people can fit on one, with the riders layering their legs over the legs of the person in from of them like a human train. Then we grabbed the rope handles, tucked in our elbows, and went careening down the ice on a rollercoaster of a hill. My fur hood blew off the minute we went over the edge despite the fact that I’d tied it on. My husband’s lips froze to his teeth. I screamed all the way down as we barreled across the ice and I wondered how we’d ever stop.
We ran up onto a stretch of rubber matting. That’s how.
Exhilarated and frozen stiff, we ran over to warm up by the fire. Our fingers and toes felt frostbitten. Our cheeks were chapped. The sun was setting and we debated for a moment — take another chilly ride down the chute in the dark? Or thaw out over dinner and save the next winter sporting activity for a day above freezing?
Food won out.
Would 17-degree temps keep you inside? Or would wintertime fun lure you outdoors?