QUESTION: Why Doesn’t the City Allow Sledding on Mount Trashmore?

FACT: City officials enacted a ban after years of sledding injuries and attempts to make the activity safer were unsuccessful.
small child being pulled on a sled by an adultAs tempting as the slopes of our 65-foot tall hill might be, they’re simply not suited for winter recreation such as sledding, skiing or snowboarding. Take the winter snowstorm of 1996, for example, when 11 inches of snow blanketed our city. Perfect for sledding, right? 

A large crowd, estimated to be more than 5,000 people, flocked to Mount Trashmore with just about anything they could sit on to use as a sled. Thrill seekers brought everything from inflatable pool toys and trash can lids to vinyl tablecloths and cardboard. It was, in a word, chaos. The hill was packed with people, often running into each other as they went down the slope. At the bottom, sledders were running into fences, trees and parked cars – some even got stuck under vehicles.

People sustained a variety of injuries, from scrapes and bruises to broken bones and internal. One child went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a ruptured spleen. It got to the point that Virginia Beach EMS returned to Mount Trashmore from after hospital runs to wait for the next, seemingly inevitable, injury.

The following year, in 1997, the City made some changes. Sledding on the steepest areas, the north and west slopes, was banned entirely. The lesser slopes were allowed, but with restrictions on what could be used to sled down the hill. There were even some well-placed obstacles scattered along the hill to slow riders down.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to lessen the injuries, and the City banned the activity on Mount Trashmore entirely in 2000. Given the numerous past injuries and the park being unsuited for winter weather activities, Parks & Recreation is unlikely to lift the ban.

However, if you’re not put off by cold weather, and are seeking adventure, there are a number of winter-friendly activities around Virginia Beach. Surfing, whale watching, and hiking trails are some of the activities on hand during the winter months. For more information about activities around Virginia Beach, please visit Park & Recreation’s website, or the Virginia Aquarium’s website.

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