The Siskel and Ebert of suburban Milwaukee sledding hills are back.
Wait, that sounds a little too professional.
The Abbott and Costello of suburban Milwaukee sledding hills are back.
Fresh off an award-winning series* rating the sledding hills in Brookfield, Elm Grove and the North Shore over the last two years, I was joined by my buddy Isral DeBruin - now no longer a NOW Newspapers employee, but we still like him nonetheless - as we tackled sledding hills in our southern and western communities on a recent sunny December afternoon.
(*Editor's note: We did not actually win any awards.)
While this is by no means a definitive list of hills in the area, we still found a fair amount of variety among the hills in Hales Corners, New Berlin and West Allis that offer something for young kids to daredevils.
Enjoy, and happy sledding!
One sled = Perfect for little kids
Two sleds = Still not too scary
Three sleds = A little steeper, but still family-friendly; you can get some speed and get longer runs
Four sleds = You're moving pretty quickly and even hitting a jump or two
Five sleds = Evel Knievel would have loved this one
ADDRESS: 5400 S. Calhoun Road, New Berlin
WHERE'S THE HILL: There are two, and both can be accessed via the park's south entrance on Calhoun Road
PARKING: Plenty combined between the north and south lots
RESTROOMS: None that are open in winter
ALAN'S TAKE: Our first stop of the day proved to be a lot of fun, especially the smaller, steeper southern hill. I had to slam the brakes on a couple of times because I was moving so fast at the bottom of the hill. And kudos to the park for setting up a backstop with snow fencing on top of it so people don't careen into traffic on Calhoun Road.
ISRAL'S TAKE: Calhoun Park's south hill does indeed provide some serious speed, while the north hill is gentler and more kid-friendly. That variety makes this a good destination for sledders of any age. This hill is a bit no-frills, but quite solid nonetheless.
RATING: 4 sleds
Valley View Park
ADDRESS: 5051 S. Sunny Slope Road, New Berlin
WHERE'S THE HILL: Right next to the parking lot
PARKING: Sufficient, but it might get a little crowded on weekends
ALAN'S TAKE: Another fun run, this one had a couple of jumps on it that jarred my tailbone a little bit. There are lights here, so nighttime sledders are in luck. Also, the parking lot is at the top of the hill, so you'll have to haul all your gear - and your kids - back up when you're done.
ISRAL'S TAKE: This hill is spacious, so crowding isn't a concern. The runs vary in length, texture and speed. One particularly noteworthy feature is a small ridge that runs across much of the hill, offering an unavoidable but enjoyable bump in the ride.
RATING: 3.5 sleds
ADDRESS: 5879 S. 92nd St., Hales Corners
WHERE'S THE HILL: The main hill is right next to the golf course clubhouse; a smaller hill for little kids sits farther north
PARKING: Plenty in a large lot right off of 92nd Street; street parking also is available
RESTROOMS: Yes, but the clubhouse is only open winter Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays noon to 6 p.m.
ALAN'S TAKE: Whitnall was the best hill we went to this year … and maybe the best one we've been at in the last three years. It was crowded on our trip there over Christmas break, but with good reason - the massive hill provides something for every sledder, from young kids to daredevils. Whitnall, which also has a toboggan run, is well worth the trip.
ISRAL'S TAKE: Whitnall Park's sledding hill is the most interesting sledding hill I have ever seen. A large section of the hill has a terrace design, offering a ride that alternates between steep drops and short plateaus. With everything this hill has to offer, you'll doubtless be there for several hours. When your toes start to go numb, step inside the clubhouse to warm up by the fire while enjoying some snacks. (Note the clubhouse hours above.)
RATING: 5 sleds
La Follette Park
ADDRESS: 9418 W. Washington St., West Allis
WHERE'S THE HILL: More or less in the middle of the park, right next to the main building
PARKING: Street parking only
RESTROOMS: No dice
ALAN'S TAKE: Thrill-seekers need not apply at this hill. La Follette offers a gentle slope that would be great for parents with young kids, but not very exciting for anybody else.
ISRAL'S TAKE: Unless you live within walking distance, skip this hill. Any time it would take you to drive here would be better spent traveling to Whitnall Park. The runs on La Follette's small sledding hill are relatively short, slow and uninteresting.
RATING: 2 sleds
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