Sledders get creative at Johnson's Mound

Published: Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 3:57 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 10:52 p.m. CDT

ELBURN – At Johnson’s Mound in Elburn, sledding ranges from traditional to adventurous in order to satisfy each sledder’s creativity. On Saturday, sledders came equipped with a wide variety of sleds – anything from disks and snowboards to an air mattress and kiddie pool.

Groups of sledders were taking advantage of ideal sledding conditions, with a fresh layer of snow on the ground. The mound is split into two sledding hills, separated by a strip of trees. One hill is shorter and padded with a thick layer of snow while the other features a long, steep drop and clusters of icy bumps. Hay bales are used to indicate walk-up paths. 

“This year it’s nice because there’s ice and it’s not muddy so it makes (us) go faster,” said Elizabeth Bettag, 19, a Maple Park resident. “(We) get a lot of air.”

After their snowboards broke, Bettag and her four siblings were left with three sleds. They decided to challenge themselves and fit all five siblings by holding each other’s legs and sitting close enough to take up the sleds.

“The best is the look on (people’s) faces when they realize that you’re coming, and they jump out of the way,” Bettag said.

While sledding, individuals noticed that an increased amount of hay bales could be used to ensure safer rides.

“I’ve seen little kids smash into trees (and) break their noses; these hay bales need to extend further,” said Michael Hammond, 14, a Sugar Grove resident. “And people take (the hay bales) and ride them down the hill.”

In addition, Sugar Grove resident Jacob Urban, 15, said he thinks taller stacks of hay bales would be beneficial to sledders.

“I don’t think the one hay bale in front of the one tree is going to help – I think that’s just going to make it worse because you’re going to plant (into the hay bale) and then hit the tree,” Urban said.

Elgin resident Dean Ashton, 47, visited Johnson’s Mound with his wife and two children.

“(We) put (our kids) in the front of the sled so we kind of cradle them while sledding down,” Ashton said.

The Ashtons said they went sledding to beat cabin fever before the winter temperatures drop to frigid lows.

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