If you're from the lower 48 that might be the type of sledding you are used to. But any real Alaskan knows what true sledding is. In the small town of Kenny Lake we might call it extreme sledding; let me just tell you, sometimes: it gets ugly! I have been extreme sledding quite a few times and can tell you that I did not know if I would survive or not.
I believe that one of the first times I went extreme sledding was on a church outing to Kimball Pass. One day every year over spring break the Kenny Lake Community Chapel takes about ten snowmachines up Kimball Pass. Sometimes the ride up can get a little sketchy; snowmachines tip and get stuck in snow that would come all the way up to your waist. This particular trip almost everybody got stuck at least once.
Once we finally made it to Kimball Pass we built a fire and ate our lunch. Some people had come to test their highmarking skills while others went for..... that's right sledding. My friend Robben and I had gone along for this purpose and we were determined to find a good spot. So off we went. It was not long before we came across a massive hill: technically speaking I think it was the side of a mountain, but anyway that is a minor detail. The “hill” dropped down at a good 45 degree angle into a small valley, and then back up the side of a much bigger mountain. We said “What the heck” and went for it.
Of course being the good friend that I am and not wanting ALL the fun, I let Robben go first. I could hardly watch as she zipped down the side of the mountain in a few seconds. But soon she popped right back up on her feet, laughing and screaming “You have got to try that!!!”
A snowmachiner picked her up at the bottom and brought her back up, since it would have taken ten minutes for anyone to try to hike the steep, slippery slope. Once the sled was back in place she looked at me and said “Okay your turn.” At that very moment I think my stomach went into hiding. This was one of the scariest things I have ever done! I sat down on the sled, pulled my hat down super tight, lifted my feet, and screamed for dear life as the sled sped down the “hill” and what seemed like up the mountain. It took a minute to realize that I was okay; nothing felt broken, and man that was a good ride! So up on my feet I went laughing and laughing, wanting to try it over again. Oh did I mention that I crashed. Yeah well.... there were two paths to take. The one less traveled and the one more traveled. It just so happens that I went down that “hill” about 15 times that day. I only made it to the bottom twice without wiping out. Every time I lost my hat, and my sun glasses filled with snow.
This trip was great for extreme sledding, and I have made the trip another time for the same purpose. The Kenny Lake Alaskans will never get bored as long as there is a sledding hill. We don't even need sleds. I myself have used trash bags as a full body suit, and boy do you pick up speed! I hope that I can soon share with you more stories of extreme sledding in Alaska!