On Ice Blocks

Mid-afternoon yesterday, I noticed that it was an absolutely gorgeous day—as many have been recently—and, having not made evening plans yet, I decided that it was to be a night for ice block sledding. Wondrously, the weather held out pretty well, with a clear night sky and warm air. Furthermore, it was a near full moon last night so we had plenty of light to see by.

Ice block sledding, for those that don't know, is a fantastic sport that involves no more than some blocks of ice, some towels and a hill with well mown grass. In some parts of the world, ice blocks aren't the easiest thing to come by but, in Woods Hole, the local liquor store sells them in order to accommodate people with house boats and old fashioned ice boxes. I've got plenty of towels, so that's no problem. The well mown grass hill is where Woods Hole really shines; we have a fancy golf course with a very steep hill in the middle of Hole 13's fairway. Once you have all three components, they must be put together correctly; the correct organization is to put the ice block on the top of the hill, put a folded towel on top of the ice block, sit on the folded towel, set off down the hill and try not to fall off. I should have mentioned, the ice blocks are about 12"x6"x6", which is to say not very big or easy to stay on.

Having acquired all the requisite components, plus a few beers for good measure, the troops (friends that I had called earlier in the day) were gathered and the fun commenced. We had a little trouble with the golf course sprinkler system initially but, once that passed, we had a hill that was slightly moistened, which serves to make the ice blocks go even faster. Having been ice block sledding many times over the course of quite a few years, there's only so much appeal to going down by myself, whether it's on my butt, stomach or whatever. The next level of thrill is formation ice block sledding; there are quite a few ways to arrange two people with two ice blocks and even more with three. In our case, we had five ice blocks, so we didn't come anywhere near exhausting our possible formation arrangement. It was a fantastic night and a fantastic endeavor.

If you can find some way to get your hands on blocks of ice, you will be doing yourself a severe disservice not to go ice block sledding sometime. Of course, if you ever visit me on the Cape and the weather is decent, you probably won't have a very hard time convincing me to take you out ice block sledding.