I hadn't really done any sledding since childhood, and let me tell you, the experience is pretty different now. Here are a few of the ways that sledding as an adult is different from sledding as a child:
You're too big for the sled
Most sleds are made for children. So unless you have one of those giant inflatable tube things, then the odds are good that you won't really fit too well on whatever you're planning to ride down the hill.
But of course you don't want any body parts to touch the ground ... so you basically have to tie yourself into a little knot, with your legs crossed tightly and your feet tucked underneath you.
And guess what happens when you inevitably hit a jump and get launched off your sled!
Of course, if you don't want this to happen, you also have the option of sitting on your knees instead. Except that's not really what you're doing -- you're going down the hill on your shins. Your frail, tender, easily-bruised shins will absorb the impact from every bump you hit the entire way down. And trust me, there will be a lot of bumps.
Your weight means you go faster and take longer to stop
At the 10th hole, there are lots of different sled 'runs' that people have created. Some are nice and easy; some are a little shorter and faster, and some are just plain madness. I decided to attempt the "just plain madness" run after watching a kid go down it and survive.
What I failed to consider is that I now weigh approximately twice as much as that kid. This means I started off slower, but as I gained momentum, I became an unstoppable force. I hit a bump and quasi-unseated myself, but I did not stop. I hit my head on the ground so hard my hat came off, but I did not stop. I got turned backwards and started flailing my arms and legs in every direction, desperate to end my forward progress as I hurtled headfirst down the mountain. But as long as some portion of greased-up sled remained beneath me, I did not stop.
By the time my terror ride was over, I was ten yards from a tree, twenty yards beyond where the kid had stopped, and convinced that I had suffered brain damage.
At least the kid tried to make sure I was okay, because ...
No one really cares if you get hurt
When you're a kid, if you have a particularly rough ride down the mountain and come to a screeching halt at the bottom in an unmoving lump, you can bet your ass that if you don't hop up a second later, your parents will be barreling down after you to make sure you haven't given yourself a concussion.
I was lying there half-dead asking "is that you, God?" for a solid five or six seconds and the only reaction I got from my mom was raucous laughter. When I had finally trudged back up to the top of the hill, my brother told me it was the perfect run because "you looked hilarious, you were screaming the whole time, you lost your hat, you hurt yourself, and you didn't get up for a long time! IT WAS AWESOME!"
Apparently this passes for "maternal sympathy" once you reach a certain age.
It kind of sucks that no one cares about the injuries you suffer, too, because as an adult ...
You get hurt a lot more easily
As a kid, I remember sailing off my sled many a time without suffering any injury at all. As an adult, I went down the hill a total of three or four times and I:
-- bit my tongue so hard it hurt for the next two days;
-- gave myself a headache for the rest of the day after hitting my head on the ground a couple of times;
-- turned both shins into a giant wall of bruise after going down the hill on my knees once; and
-- got a mouthful of snow that my now-sensitive teeth did not appreciate one bit. I actually think this was the most painful part -- that moment when the cold jumps right through your enamel and blasts the nerves under your teeth so they feel like someone is jamming a needle into the roots. I certainly don't remember THAT ever happening as a child!
And worst of all,
The walk up the hill sucks so. much. more
As a kid, you're so excited to go down the hill again that you practically sprint back up to the top to get in line for the best runs.
As an adult, you're so battered and weary by the time you get to the bottom that the trip back up is just adding insult to injury. You tell yourself that was your last run, but then everyone wants to see you hurt yourself again and you know it's only fair to go one last time because your brother did just ride his snow skateboard face-first into a snow bank and it was pretty damn funny ... so you really owe him one more wipeout.
In fact, watching everyone else wipe out is the only reason we do it. Going down the hill is not fun. Watching someone else eat snow is the fun part.
Eff this. Next time, I'm staying at the top of the hill.
Except I totally won't. Because my wipeouts are the best and I would never want to deprive anyone of that.
I WIN AGAIN.