Tobogganing!

Posted by Karen - January 4th, 2013

Posted by Karen

Right now is the second week of our Christmas vacation, and we’re spending it in Calgary with my family.  We’re staying at Baba (Grandma, in Ukrainian) and Grandpa’s house, but having lots of fun also hanging out with my sister, brother, nieces and nephew.

Miranda with her Baba (Helen)

My husband and I haven’t come to Calgary over the holidays since before our kiddos were born (about 11 years ago for oldest kid, holy smokes).  This year I really wanted to come here and bring Miranda and Owen – one reason for this being that they have never experienced a good old fashioned prairie-style snowy winter.  Yes, we get some snow in Vancouver, but it tends to be the heavy, wet kind that turns to slush pretty quickly…  Rarely do we get fun, play quality snow.

Speaking of such snow, my husband and I really hoped the weather would  be good enough to take our kids tobogganing.  BUT WAIT, you say…  Is sledding a good activity for a child who has Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva?  Isn’t it too active, too likely to cause her to hurt herself and develop a flare-up of her condition?  My answer is to say maybe, but I don’t think the risk is too high.  I think this activity is actually a pretty good choice.  First,we get to bundle Miss M up from head to toe in snow pants, a big poofy parka, boots, her helmet and mittens, so she’s very well padded.  Second, this is a sport on snow, so if she falls off her sled, she’s not tumbling onto a hard surface.  Third, the toboggan we get to use is a nice big plastic item with curved up sides, big enough for her to lay her body completely down in it and be flat on the hillside as she’s going down the hill.

You can't see it in this picture, but Miranda's feet are also on the sled.

Yes, there’s potential for Miranda to have a wipe-out, but we figured we could minimize that risk.

It turned out we had a great day to give this a whirl.  On our first full day in Calgary, the sun was bright, it was about 5 degrees below zero celsius, and there was a nice thick layer of snow on the ground.  And, lucky for us, the elementary school in my parents’ community (where I went as a girl) is close by and has a fabulous “bowl-shaped” sledding hill.  By bowl-shaped I mean that there’s a nice big hill down one side, a flat part at the bottom and then an almost equally big hill going up the other side, and no trees on any of this.  PERFECT!

One side of the sledding hill, from the bottom...

...and from the bottom, looking up the other side.

When we arrived at the hill, Miranda’s 10-year old brother Owen immediately started at it, sliding as fast as he could down the steepest part of the hill.  Miranda, however, was a bit more cautious (probably a good thing) and wanted to start at the more modest part of the slope.  So, we loaded her up and gently pushed her down…  Away she went!  She built up a pretty good amount of speed, but not too much, and eventually came to a nice, easy stop.  When she got to the bottom, I asked how it was – she shouted “GREAT!  I want to do it again!”

After that, we spent a good hour and a half sliding down the hill, climbing up and doing it all over again.  SO much fun.  It was an absolute BLAST, and no wipe-outs.  :-)

In the FOP community, we often say that kids with FOP can do most things other children do, with just a bit of adjustment.  Miranda’s totally fun time with tobogganing is a perfect example of this principle.  Did M fly down the hill on a precarious, spinny bowl contraption like her brother?  No, but with the right (safer) sled, and a few precautions, she was able to have just as great an experience.

PS – HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours!

5 Responses to “Tobogganing!”

  1. Kathleen says:

    Awesome!! Sounds like fun! I remember tobogganing when I was younger. It was tons of fun!

  2. mary grimm says:

    We lived a block away from hill in the country..afavorite winter activity was sledding..we would pile 5 kids on tobaggan..me on top..

  3. mary grimm says:

    Did that go…used to go sleddind every weekend…

  4. Saskia says:

    Wonderful!! And you’re right, with the right adjustments almost everything is possible!

  5. Blair says:

    That was a very fun day :)



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