Last winter was my first winter back in the Lakes Region and unfortunately it was a total bust snow-wise. This year, however, we are off to a great start! Now that my son no longer freaks out when he gets snow in his face, we are officially on a quest to hit all the public sledding hills around. We start this weekend. Here is the list so far – if you know of any others please let me know so we can be sure to try them and I can add them to this resource list.
Laconia Sledding Hill – FREE, BYOS
This is a huge, steep hill that locals have been sledding for ages. The City provides lighting on the hill until 9 pm every night as long as there is enough snow on the ground for it to be safe for sledding. The hill is located at the end of South Street, which is a dead end road off Academy Street near the cemetery (just before Academy Street turns into Mile Hill Road).
Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center (Laconia) – FREE, BYOS
All new this year – Prescott Farm on White Oaks Road in Laconia is offering free sledding parties every Saturday in January from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm. Call 366-5695 to make a reservation because they will only allow so many people on the hill during each party to keep it from getting crowded. Enjoy S’mores by the campfire and check out their green building where hot cocoa and other light snacks are available for purchase. (They are also running a photo contest right now – best pic of a public sledding spot in the Lakes Region wins a free private sledding party for you and up to 30 guests! See their website and FB page for details.)
Gilford Outing Club Hill – FREE, BYOS
This hill located at the intersection of Routes 11A and 11B in Gilford has got a lot of history. It used to be a small ski hill with a rope tow – local Olympian Penny Pitou learned to ski on this hill, as did many locals back in the 50s, 60s and 70s. The rope tow was taken down in the 80s and the Outing Club disbanded in 1992. I believe the land and warming hut at the base of the hill were donated to the town at that point. Anyway, it’s primarily been a sledding hill since then. The warming hut is being reconstructed by a group of local volunteers. My fondest memory is riding a couch with skis nailed to the bottom of it down the hill with a group of friends during winter break in college. Terrifying, but fun!
Gunstock Mountain Resort (Gilford) – $18 for two hours, tubes provided
Gunstock’s Thrill Hill Tubing Park has the longest tubing run in New Hampshire – 1068 feet. The park is serviced by its own handle-tow lift. So if you’re not in the mood to drag yourself (and your kiddo) up a hill, try this option. You can just sit comfortably in your tube as the lift pulls you to the top of the hill. Then choose from 1 of 4 chutes to slide down the hill.
High School Hill (Meredith) – FREE, BYOS
This is a short but very steep hill behind Inter-Lakes High School that many of the locals use on weekends and during winter vacation. Although it’s not the biggest hill on this list, it makes for a fun activity as part of a day in Meredith with shopping, dining, day spa, massage, etc. added on.
Tilton School Hill – FREE, BYOS
This steep hill is located directly in front of the Tilton School in downtown Tilton. At the base of the hill there is a public parking area (directly across from the Tilton House of Pizza). This guy getting some air in the photo is on the Tilton School hill. Nice! Anyone have a tube I can borrow?
Frisky Hill (Gilmanton) – stay tuned – FREE, BYOS
The Gilmanton Land Trust is about one centimeter away from its goal of raising $1,170,000 to purchase four tracts of land (86 acres total) at the top of Frisky Hill (Route 107, south of Gilmanton Four Corners). All tracts will allow pedestrian (non-motorized) access for all manner of activities, including sledding! This will be hands down THE most gorgeous place you’ve ever gone sledding. They were only short $6,000 a couple of weeks ago. Check their website or like them on FB to find out when this land will be open to the public. I’m WICKED excited for this!