Don’t waste your snow days on subpar sledding

Harper Dunn and Anya Herzberg

Sledding. An essential snow day activity, right? But did you know that after all this time you may have been sledding on the wrong hill?

We couldn’t stand knowing that many Wilson students were wasting their limited snow days sledding on mediocre slopes, so we got to work, reviewing sledding hills in DC. We analyzed each hill to the best of our ability, given that there was no snow on the ground (this made analysis much tougher than it should have been), and measured each one in units of “Harpers” (one Harper = 5 feet 2 inches).

After averaging four criteria, we conjured up a list, in order from best to worst in quality, of the four sledding hills we visited.


  1. Washington International School (WIS): 3100 Macomb Street NW

Although hard to access, the hill behind WIS, in our opinion, is the best hill to sled on in Northwest DC.

Steepness: 8.5/10 – This hill was quite steep, allowing for us to shoot down the hill despite the lack of snow.

Length: 9/10 (60 Harpers) – This hill was very long, with a bump creating a new hill, which made the ride twice as fun.

Speed: 7/10 – Although hard to judge since there was the lack of snow, we estimated that the sled would move at a medium-high speed since there were several bumps in the way, but this was compensated for by the length.

Thrill: 9/10 – The hill was very enjoyable to sled on, with various paths to take. This allows for an amusing time, and together with the other criteria, made the hill thrilling!

Overall: 8.5/10 – This was definitely the best hill. Although it was a challenge to climb, bumpy, and had a sign saying that sledding was prohibited, in our opinion, the length, convenience, and velocity greatly outweighed the negative aspects of this great sledding hill.


  1. Fort Reno Park: 4000 Chesapeake Street NW

This hill, close by to Wilson, was a close second to WIS.

Steepness: 7.5/10 – With not much room to dilly dally at the top of the hill, Fort Reno appeared to be quite steep, but couldn’t compete with WIS once we got to sledding.

Length: 9.5/10 (100 Harpers!) – This hill was extremely long, allowing the enjoyment of sledding to last much longer than the WIS hill.

Speed: 7/10 – As the hill was not very steep, during our experiment, our sleds were not able to go more than three feet down the hill. We figured that on a snowy day, the length would accommodate for the steepness, making the speed of a run quite fast. We also referred back to our prior experience sledding at Fort Reno.

Thrill: 8/10 – Riding down the hill with friends at a decent speed and unable to stop makes for a thrilling ride.

Overall: 8/10 – Fort Reno came in a sliver behind WIS, still making it an awesome option for hitting the slopes near Wilson. There was some mud halfway down, and it was quite bumpy, but those problems should clear up when the snow comes in. As long as you be careful at the end, which is a street, and your legs can bear the journey back up, Fort Reno is a great choice!


  1. Knollwood Retirement Home: 6200 Oregon Ave NW

This forest hill off Oregon Avenue is sure to give you a fun and bumpy ride!

Steepness: 9/10 – The medium-sized length of this hill is made up for with its impressive steepness.

Length: 6/10 (40 Harpers) – This hill’s length is in between that of Fort Reno and a backyard. It’s length still made for an exciting ride, without the terror of climbing up a 100-Harper long mountain.

Speed: 8.5/10 – We were quite impressed by our dry sleds’ ability to glide down the hill, despite the abundance of sticks and roots in the way.

Thrill: 8.5/10 – The steepness of the slope made for a thrilling adventure, along with the many different path options along the hill.

Overall: 7.5/10 – We were pretty impressed by this hill, but it still fell into third place, due to the mediocre length,  plentitude of trees, roots, and sticks, and the abrupt gravel finish to each ride.


  1. Catholic University: 620 Michigan Avenue NE

With plenty of hills across its campus, Catholic University may have come in last, but it didn’t disappoint.

Steepness: 8/10 -The majority of hills we came across were fairly steep and very wide.

Length: 6/10 (25 Harpers) – Only 25 Harpers long, the longest hill we could find didn’t satisfy our standards.

Speed: 8/10 – Combined with the steepness and lack of obstacles/bumps, our sleds were able to zoom down the clean cut grass hills.

Thrill: 7/10 -The smooth paths and smooth trees made these hills very enjoyable to ride on.

Overall: 6.25/10 – With many hills to choose from, this beautiful campus provides a fun sledding experience. The only downsides of this sledding location are that the hills are extremely short, the campus is hard to get to, there is no gradual stop, and the campus is enormous and hard to navigate.

Occasional snow days sure are quite hard to get, and when you get them, finding the right sledding hill is crucial. Our analysis of the hills is not only based on our exploration, but also on testimony by other Wilson students, who claim that they know the best places to go during the snowy season. “Definitely the other side of Fort Reno, because it’s like a super big hill,” Simon Katkov, a freshman at Wilson, said. Meanwhile, Wilson senior Aviv Roskes is devoted to her next-door neighbor’s hill, as she finds it both convenient and enjoyable. Nevertheless, we encourage you to try all of these hills on your next snow day. When that day comes, you can be sure to catch us at WIS with our best sleds!