Sledding's ups and downs bring smiles

Jan. 29, 2014 @ 06:18 PM

Raquel Filva's family had three times the fun that others did Wednesday at Hillandale Golf Course.

That's because she brought her 6-year-old triplets -- two girls and a boy -- to the popular, though unofficial, place to be whenever white flakes hit green links.

The crowd began to gather well before 7 a.m. and had grown to more than 50 people and at least four dogs by late morning at the hill off West Club Boulevard.

"I like going fast," said Filva's daughter, Vera, as she paused with her orange, plastic sled in gloved hands at the top of the hill. "I went down five times!"

Everyone seemed happy -- even those who crashed into a tree or landed in a ditch.

Skateboarder Kimball Toone, 15, used his board to sled all over the place starting Tuesday night after the first snow fell.

"The best thing about snow skateboarding is you can go more places," the Riverside High School student said as he took a break with fellow skateboarders from school. "I hit a ditch and went face-first into the snow, but it was more fun than painful."

Seventeen-year-old Cole Whetstone, also a Riverside student, used a sled he made from part of a wall to which he attached pipes and a rope. It rode close to the ground, which kept it from tearing down the hill like a snowball. But that could have a been a blessing in disguise, because he avoided crashing into a tree as a friend did on his more supple sled.

Despite a 20-degree morning, Jonah Kendall's 5-year-old daughter, Scout, enjoyed a circular trip down the hill on her pink Flexible Flyer saucer.

"It's easy to see and it goes super-fast," Jonah said. "She did circles as she went down."

Scout said it was a high-quality morning.

"It was really fun!" she said. "I got to make snow angels when I hit the ground and fell off."

Bella the dog never took to sledding at Hillandale, but played her part as a loyal friend.

"She chases us down and hill," said her owner, Mindy Spadacenta, who brought her 9-year-old daughter, Victoria, along for the ride. "We could try putting Bella on the sled, but I don't think it would work out very well."

In Chapel Hill, university students were excited about the snow. 

"Playing in the snow was a great bonding experience," Madeline Gillon, a junior from Winston-Salem, said. "When students are all excited about the same thing at the same time, it's hard not to feel a sense of camaraderie."

Meanwhile, the city of Durham canceled garbage collections Wednesday and will pick them up today. Carts should be left on the curb. Thursday's customers will receive collections Friday. All customers should still place their carts on the curb by 7 a.m. on their normal collection day.

In Orange County, curbside garbage collection was canceled Wednesday. The makeup day is Saturday for routes that would have been collected Wednesday.

Durham's snowfall ranged from 1.5 inches in some parts of the county to two inches in northern Rougemont, according to Darin Figurskey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The forecast calls for milder, drier days through the weekend, with Sunday's high reaching the mid-50s.

A main concern is for commuters this morning, Figurskey said. With temperatures expected to be well below freezing, snow that melted Wednesday and refroze could make roads slick for drivers. 

Callaghan O'Hare contributed to this report.