Skip to main content
Updated date:

Winter Outdoor Family Activities - Sledding and Tobogganing in Snow

I spent my early childhood in Wisconsin and another four years when my husband's job took him there. It is a beautiful and scenic state!

Tobogganing down a snowy hillside

Tobogganing down a snowy hillside

Family Fun

The winter snows have finally arrived! Everything is blanketed with a dazzling whiteness and the air is crisp and clean. It is time for some winter outdoor activities and family adventure. Sledding and tobogganing fit nicely into this picture!

What kid would not enjoy sliding down a snow packed hill on his or her sled whizzing by the shrubs and trees that are embellished in that frost kissed robe of sparkling white?

Whether it is a saucer type of sled or an old flexible flyer sled or even a baby sled these fun times spent will create lasting memories. And who better to spend these precious moments with than one's family?

Wisconsin Winter Fun

My younger brothers and I grew up in the countryside of Wisconsin with acres of land surrounding our home. There was a hill behind us that seemed big to us when we were little. Many years later after I was married and was showing my husband our family home and the surrounding area that hill no longer seemed as big. Truly the home had shrunk in size as well! Funny how things seem to shrink in size as we get bigger!

In any case, that hill was large enough for us to do some sledding and we often took advantage of it. We had the old wooden slatted sleds with the ability to control the direction of our downward descent and became quite good at it with practice. Over and over again we would slide down the hill and pull the sled back up to the top only to remount the sled and once again fly back down the hill. Those were fun times!

When my mother was a child and sledding down hills their dog Jiggs would often ride down with them and he would pull the sled back up the hill!

Toboggans are mostly used for recreational fun in this day and time although their original use and that of sleds for that matter were utilitarian. Putting goods or small children onto sleds and toboggans and pulling it behind one during times of the year when snow covered the ground was an efficient way of transporting those goods or children as opposed to trying to carry them.

My Tobogganing Memories

My family had a wooden toboggan which was hauled out of the basement and put into use each winter season. I remember those days with glee! That hill behind our house was not really large or long enough to provide our family with enough downhill excitement to make it pay so we did one of two things.

#1. There was a golf course that had larger hills and several times a season my Dad would transport the toboggan and all of us to that location. It was an orchestrated effort to link ourselves all together with the legs of the person in back hugging the person in front and also using our arms to become interlinked. Once everything was set with my Dad being in back and my youngest brother in front of the curved face of the toboggan we would go sailing down the hill amidst gales of laughter.

#2. The other thing my Dad did to provide some fun for us on flat land near our home was to attach the toboggan to the back of his car with ropes while we would be on the toboggan sled behind. He would purposely make curves and once again laughing and trying to stay on the toboggan at some point we would all lose our grip and be scattered like fallen leaves into the soft banks of snow.

Such was the simple kind of fun we had while tobogganing in the winter. It still brings a smile to my face!

My Mother's Memories of Tobogganing

Vivid were my mother's memories of tobogganing in Washington Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when she was a child. After eating an early supper her family would go to the park with their toboggan.

A special ramp and stairway allowed access to the top of a wooden structure that had been built. After working their way up in line they would carefully align themselves onto the toboggan and after being launched their descent first took them down the ramp and then onto the long sloping hill below amidst much hilarity and laughter.

The park and especially the toboggan run was well illuminated and this was often a night time activity for them. The kiss of cold air would have their cheeks well rouged while they attempted to hang on to those toboggan ropes as they raced down the hill over and over again.

This Looks Like fun!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 15, 2018:

Hi C E Clark,

I fondly remember sledding and tobogganing but would not wish to live where winters are now icy and snowy. Our weather can certainly be sporadic in Texas. It is cool down here also. It is a sudden but nice change. That is a bit early for snow in Wisconsin! I have been working on projects inside today so am staying nice and warm. Thanks!

C E Clark from North Texas on October 15, 2018:

Cold weather seems to have descended on us far earlier than I have ever seen in my 29 years here in North Texas. One day it's 89º and now our high today is 43º with a strong wind.

It's already snowing up in WI where I'm from. Looks like this is going to be a long cold winter. Hope you are staying warm and that all is well.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2018:

Hi C E Clark,

I can understand why you long for snow now with this excessive heat that we are having in Texas right now. It is a fun dream! Ha!

C E Clark from North Texas on July 31, 2018:

Can't really think of much to add to my previous comments on this excellent article since I last visited here several years ago. With this horrible heat wave we've had recently (100 to 113º daily) with promises that it will return again in a few days, the thought of snow is lovely. We're having a couple of days in the 90s for a reprieve, but in only a very few more days the hundreds are to return. :((( It's days in the 90s and hundred degree temps that make me long for some snow for just a day or so . . .

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 27, 2013:

Hi Rajan,

It was fun growing up as a kid in the north where we had snow every winter. Thanks for your comment and the share.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 26, 2013:

Very interesting read, Peggy. I can see you had a lot of fun with these activities. Unfortunately where I live there is no snow and hills either, though it would be wonderful to just experience it.

Voted up, interesting and shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

If you haven't written a hub about should! Sounds like it would be interesting. Nice that you also have some memories of sledding and tobogganing when you were a child. Not much chance of it where we both live in Texas! We broke a record regarding heat here in Houston yesterday. 89 degrees! Today and the next few weeks it is again more moderate, thank heavens. Thanks for your votes and the share.

C E Clark from North Texas on March 16, 2013:

This hub looked really good when I was trying to decide which one to read this time. It's 87 degrees outside and I'm trying to leave the a/c off as long as possible. I thought looking at pictures of snow and thinking snow might help me accomplish that. ;)

Looks like you had a lot of fun in the snow. I had a sled as a child and rode a toboggan a few times, but I have to say that snowmobiling is my favorite along those lines.

One does have to use sense with a snow mobile since they'll easily go 60 mph and more. No running into fences or onto ponds and lakes -- people drown every year going through the ice in this situation, and when they run into barbed wire fences at high speed they tend to lose their heads -- literally. Bad idea.

Also, it's unwise to wear clothing like long winter scarves that can get caught up in the track and strangle you. That happens too, because people don't stop and think. I guess they're more into looking good than staying alive.

It's usually a good thing if you're snowmobiling at night in the moonlight to stay on familiar ground so you don't end up in the lake or headless. It's usually wise too, not to go too fast in unfamiliar territory, day or night. Best to scope it out first and even then be prepared for changes that may take place before you get back again.

Great hub. Makes me long for a bit of snow. I know it's just the beginning and I'll be wanting a blizzard in a few weeks. Voting up, interesting, and will share!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 23, 2012:

Hi moonlake,

I have to was more fun when I was a kid playing in the snow than as an adult trying to drive on snowy and icy streets, shoveling the snow, etc. No problem for me now living in Houston, Texas. Ah, but I have my memories! :)

moonlake from America on January 23, 2012:

I hate the cold. I'm just fine in a nice warm house. If it were up to me I wouldn't go outside in the winter ever.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 21, 2012:

Hi moonlake,

Our sledding and tobogganing came to an abrupt halt when my parents moved from Wisconsin to South Texas. I never did go snowmobiling like you did. What didn't you like about it? Just the cold? I always thought that it might be fun. Thanks for your comment.

moonlake from America on January 21, 2012:

I have lived here many, many years and never went sledding here. We call it sliding. As a child I remember it well living in NY.

We did lots of snowmobiling in our younger days. Hated every minute of it.

Our kids love all the winter sports.

Enjoyed your hub

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 21, 2012:

Hi SanneL,

I remember all to well the "fun" of driving on icy and snowy roads! Not fun at all. Sledding and toboganning however was so much fun. Thanks for your comment and stay safe on those roads!

SanneL from Sweden on January 21, 2012:

Looking out the window, it would be perfect to go for a sled ride right now, seeing all the fresh snow we got today. However, just coming back sledding with my car on the snowy road, It is enough of excitement for one day! But sledding was very much a part of my youth. So much fun!

I love your vintage pictures and your cousin's Shih Tzu dogs are always great fun.

Peggy, yet another beautiful and interesting hub from you!

Voted up and awesome!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 18, 2011:

Hi Billy,

Will hit the century mark again today. Oh for a good toboggan ride or sled ride right now to cool us off. We can dream, can't we? :)))

billyaustindillon on June 18, 2011:

Just reading your sledding hub makes me feel cooler today and that is a blessing in Houston today!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 16, 2010:

Hello firemanak,

If we lived in snow country we would probably still enjoy sledding and tobogganing as winter outdoor activities...but is not to be in Houston, Texas.

As to the old postcards...I have a bunch of them from the days when my grandparents used to travel, etc. The ones in this hub are from the listed source. It is fun to see these old postcards! What type do you collect?

firemanak on December 16, 2010:


We lived in the county and loved sledding and did it as a family.. still do it when I get a chance, and don't plan to stop till I am dead and in the ground..

Also love the post cards, do you collect? I collect old post cards, some of them would look very nice ;>) in my

have a great Christmas holiday

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 15, 2010:

Hi James,

It is definitely a fun time when winter outdoor activities permit sledding and tobogganing. Even though I have now spent the majority of my life in the South, I am happy to have those memories. Ah...those shrinking hills! Haha!

James A Watkins from Chicago on December 14, 2010:

I grew up across the lake from you in southwestern Michigan. My friends and I did a lot of sledding and tobogganing back in the day. As you say, it was terrific fun. And yes—those huge hills don't look so big anymore. :)

Thanks for a fine Hub that brought back cherished memories.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2010:

Hello getgoingcanada,

Tobogganing and sledding are now memories for me also since we live in Houston, Texas. Our winter outdoor activites are quite different down here due to warmer weather. Thanks for the visit and comment.

getgoingcanada on December 11, 2010:

This brings back a lot of memories...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 10, 2010:

Hi Micky,

Togogganing and sledding days spent with my family only lasted until we all moved to South Texas in 1960. Winter outdoor activites took on an entirely different meaning down there. No snow, obviously! At least I have my memories! :-)

Micky Dee on December 10, 2010:

Beautiful fun Peggy! Thank you for these good times!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 09, 2010:

Hi Steph,

Nice to hear that you also enjoyed and still enjoy the winter outdoor activities of sledding. How about tobogganing? Did you also do that as a family adventure? It is such a fond memory of mine when we lived up north. Thanks for the comment.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on December 09, 2010:

Loved sledding as a kid - we would drive into the Cascade Mountains about an hour from our Seattle, WA home. Today, we have snow most of the winter in Central Oregon, and the sledding hill is only 20 minutes away (if the kids haven't created a sled hill from the piles of snow scraped from the road with snowplows) - great hub! Love it!!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 08, 2010:

Hi Hello, hello,

Nice that you also got to experience sledding and tobogganing with your family in the winter. I fondly remember those days!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 08, 2010:

You have brought back all my childhood memories. Thank you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 07, 2010:

Hi Cheryl,

So happy to hear that you enjoyed this hub about sledding and tobogganing in the winter for those fortunate enough to live in places that can provide that type of activity. Yes...there are plenty of smiles and excitement! Thanks for the comment.

Cheryl J. from Houston, TX on December 07, 2010:

I absolutely love this hub. It is so much fun and beautiful. You are truly a great artist. Thanks for the smiles and the excitement that your hub on Winter-Outdoor-Sledding and Toboganning has given me.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 07, 2010:

Hi Prasetio,

Happy to have shared a bit of what sledding and tobogganing is like for those like you who do not experience the cold winters with snow. It truly is fun! Hope you get to experience sledding and/or tobogganing in person someday. Thanks for the comment and vote up.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on December 07, 2010:

WOW...WOW...WOW. This is the most fund activity during the winter time. I want to felt this in person. This adventure absolutely great. Unfortunately, there's no winter in my country. But I hope to try sledding and tobogganing someday. Thank you very much. Rating up!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 06, 2010:

Hi Billy,

No snow for sledding or tobogganing in the land of Oz? Haha! Now that you mention it, I don't remember seeing any along that yellow brick road either. Thanks for your humorous comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 06, 2010:

Hello agusfanani,

It truly was fun sledding and tobogganing with my family back when I was a child. Of course after we all moved to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, those fun family adventures ended. Ah...but I have my memories! Thanks for the visit and comment.

billyaustindillon on December 06, 2010:

These sleds look awesome - can't say I ahve had much sledding experience with 90% of my Christmas having been in Texas or Oz :)

agusfanani from Indonesia on December 06, 2010:

You've brought my imagination to the moments of those winter outdoor activities so that I could get the feeling of the fun. It must have been so great playing around in the snow.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 05, 2010:

Hello sarovai,

I am happy to have introduced you to such winter outdoor activites such as sledding and tobogganing. It is so much fun and such a great opportunity for family and friends to share great outdoor adventures together. Thanks for the comment.

sarovai on December 05, 2010:

Hi Peggy W , I learned some words like wooden tobogganing and sledding. In winter time snow , I come across, but not thick one. With your hub only , I came to know about the thick snow and enjoying with that. Thank u for sharing .

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 04, 2010:

Hi dahoglund,

Glad you got to do some sledding when you were young. Nice that the golf course clubhouse was open for hot chocolate. When our family went tobogganing on those golf course hills in Wisconsin I don't think that there was a clubhouse that stayed open for such things. That was a real treat and family adventure to be taken there a few times in the winter. Nice memories looking back. Thanks for adding yours!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on December 04, 2010:

I did do some sledding, although we lived in the city and hills were not handy. Sometimes a friend and I would walk , I think, about two miles to Columbia Park where there was a golf course with a hill and a clubhouse. sometimes we might take the streetcar.The clubhouse was nice because when we got cold we could buy a hot chocolate. I don't know shy it was kept open.

I was watching a history channel show on the history of Christmas and I think it said that all the Rudolph, Frossty and such cartoons were about 1960, which explains why I did not grow up with them because I was in college about then.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 04, 2010:

Hello vietnamvet68,

With all that snow you just got up in your part of the country I'll bet the kids are having fun sledding and tobogganing! The adults are not having much fun driving however. (All those people getting stuck on the Inerstate for many hours made the national news.) Like you we also used other things besides sleds. There was an old abandoned gravel pit not too far from our house and pieces of cardboard also worked for sledding purposes if we did not want to bother hauling our sleds with us. Oh the fun days of our youth! Thanks for sharing your memories and happy holidays to you also.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 04, 2010:

Hi Mike,

Nice that we both have our memories of sledding and thanks for sharing that special college campus hill with us and the image of students sledding after classes from your town. Did anyone do any tobogganing down that same hill? Thanks for the comment.

vietnamvet68 from New York State on December 04, 2010:

a beautifully done hub with all the old lovely pictures,the days of sleding were so much fun. I remember when I was a young boy we used to use old car hoods when we had nothing else. Sleds have changed so much over the years. But the fun of sleding is something every young child should enjoy. Here in western NY we just got pounded with over 2 feet of snow and at my age I wish I could go sleding. Beautiful Hub God Bless and Happy Holidays.

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on December 03, 2010:

Sledding was so much a part of my youth, both as a boy and as a teenager. The college campus in town is on a hill, and parents would take kids there after snows. The college students also went sledding there after classes, and it was a beautiful sight. As a college student I especially remember sledding in the winter evening with the moon shining bright on the freshly fallen snow.

Thanks for bringing back some beautiful memories. Take care.


Related Articles