Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Snow Report

We received a bit of fresh snow today in Troy making for nice sledding conditions.  You will definitely find some high speed sledding today and new trails will quickly become packed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Frear Park

Frear Park, located about 1 mile north of RPI off of Oakwood Avenue, is a popular sledding spot for everyone from kids to college people.  When the Sledder Team visited, we stuck to the slopes on the south side of the park, along Frear Park Road.

The Team hustling towards the main area

The 'main area' of Frear Park is located across from the parking lot next to the tennis courts and provides easy sledding.  For the most part, the slopes are gentle, and the rides are average length.

Finding the main area is easy enough, as there will almost always be people sledding there.  However, there can be some congestion, so watch out for other while on the slopes here.  Still, these slopes earn a green circle (easy) rating.

Venturing through the trees proves worthwhile

The main area does have a hidden gem.  If you walk up the hill, you'll notice a small path which leads into some trees.  At the end, you'll notice a double black diamond (experts only) slope.  The trail is narrow (with heavy brush on both sides), steep, and very bumpy.  On my run down, I fell off my sled on the last bump and landed on my arm, leaving me in a pain for a bit.

If you gather enough speed and can hold on to your sled, you'll be in for nice, long ride.  This slope feeds into a popular green circle.  Be sure to watch out for the other sledders on your way down.

Down the double black diamond

Going off the beaten path and finding new slopes is half the fun in sledding.  Walking along Frear Park Road, away from the tennis courts, brought us to some less crowded slopes.

This slope (facing Frear Park Rd.) is a fun ride and has a jump for the daring

We found two black diamonds in this area that we liked.  Our favorite faces Frear Park Road.  It provides a long ride and is plenty fast.  If you're looking for air, stay close to the trees on your way down.  You'll hit a little bump and then a bigger one, which you can catch some serious air on.  Landing's painful (on a plastic saucer), but it might be easier on a foam or inflatable sled.  

The other slope faces in the opposite direction.  It's a bit steeper, but a bit shorter of a ride.  Also, there's a large divot (maybe from a bunker) at the bottom of the slope, which can hurt if you hit it.  The slope is worth checking out, if only for just one run.

Even the best need to take a break

All things considered, Frear Park is worth visiting.  Large, open areas are always fun for sledding and there's tons of exploring to be done.  We probably missed a few good slopes in our review, but we'll find more when we go back.  Be sure to check the map for the location of slopes we mentioned in this review.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The hills around EMPAC provide some of the best (if not the best) sledding on the RPI campus. It has everything, from easy beginner slopes to super fasts.

The slope running down the north side of EMPAC some great blue square (intermediate) sledding. The 6 terraces provide a quick and bumpy ride. If you're going fast enough, you'll catch air on the last two. You'll probably need to get a running start if you're riding cardboard and want to get air. We found that the saucers we bought from True Value were really fast on this run.

If EMPAC isn't open, the walk back up can be made easier by sticking close to the glass wall. There's gravel, which gives more traction, and you can use EMPAC to help balance yourself.


The hill directly in front of the Folsom library is prime for sledding. The initial drop gives you enough speed to make it all the way to 8th street. (Un)fortunately, there's a wall there to stop you, but if you venture to far right, you'll fall though the gap in the wall.

The walk back up the hill is quite a work out at this point. The steepness and iciness warrant careful climbing. Given the speed and the obstacles on this slope, I rate it a black diamond (difficult).

The Sledder Team inspecting the premises.

If you venture to the right (looking down the hill) of the black diamond slope you'll come across a more beginner-friendly slope. The incline is more gentle and the run doesn't terminate with a stone wall. Stay close to Carnegie, and you'll have a good time.

Overall, EMPAC provides some great sledding oppurtunities. Despite being all the way down by 8th street, you'll be hard pressed to find anything steeper in Troy.

Meet the Sledder Team

The Sledder team is made up by Sean Dempsey, Alex Parker, Andrew Neidhardt, Steve Siden, and Mike Pinkowish. Together, we sled the slopes of Troy and let you know what's good.

Clockwise starting from top left: Sean, Alex, Andrew, and Steve chilling at Frear Park.

Mike taking a break.

Freshman Hill

Freshman Hill is great for a quick sled. The hill between Cary Hall and RSE has a good slope, and there's plenty of room for people.

The bottom of the hill of is icy, which makes the rides last longer, but can hurt if you fall. Fortunately, there are stairs that run up the side of the hill which is as good as you'll find anywhere for the climb back up.

Sledder gives Freshman Hill a Green Circle (easy) rating.

Sledder is Here!

Sledder: Snow lets everyone do daring, exciting rides?

I'm still working on a clever acronym.

Visit Sledder for the scoop on great sledding hills at Rensselaer and the Troy, NY area.  We'll post reviews of hills and snow reports with plenty of pictures (maybe video, too!).  Stay tuned.