It's All Downhill

When we were younger, the only criteria for judging a sledding hill was: Is it awesome? But we're more advanced than that now. So to determine Northeast Ohio's best sledding hills, we consulted with county topographers and geographic information specialists and did some math. It produced a rating system based on: 1. Length, to gauge the amount of sled pulling from top to bottom. 2. Height, to determine the "max air" potential. 3. Steepness, think roller coaster here — use the algebraic equation of rise (height) over run (length) to determine slope (aka speed potential). Consider that Cedar Point's Millennium Force has a slope of 96 percent; anything above 26 percent is a fast sled ride. 4. The Intangibles, to determine fun. Now, grab a sled and go.

Hidden Valley Park
4880 Klasen Road, Madison
Length = 100-200 feet
Height = 18 feet
Slope = 18%
Fun factor = "It's a great hill for families with smaller children," says Brian Fowler, chief of recreation services for Lake Metroparks.
Cascade Valley Metro Park
1061 Cuyahoga St., Akron
Length = 240 feet
Height = 50 feet
Slope = 21%
Fun factor = "You can get up to a really fast speed," says Nathan Eppink, Summit County Metro Parks spokesman. "Because it's lighted, it's perfect for night sledding."
Kendall Hill at Virginia Kendall Park
5465 Quick Road, Peninsula
Length = 800-900 feet
Height = 90 feet
Slope = 11%
Fun factor = "It's always been fun," says Anthony Gareau, parks geographic information specialist."People have been sledding here since the '30s."
Riverview Park
4895 Bailey Road, Madison
Length = 350-400 feet
Height = 50 feet
Slope = 13%
Fun factor = "It's the fastest hill in Lake County," Fowler says. "You scream the whole way down."
Center Street Sledding Hill
8350 Carpenter Drive, Mentor
Length = 130 feet
Height = 70 feet
Slope = 53%
Fun factor ="It's a particularly steep hill," says Mike Hilborn, public works supervisor. "And it's fast, especially when it gets icy."
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