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Six Tips for Sledding Safely on Capitol Hill

Sledding on the Capitol's West Front in 2014.
Monday, March 13, 2017

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, a section of the U.S. Capitol Grounds West Front will open for community sledding during daylight hours (dawn to dusk). Everyone is invited to join in the fun, but we ask that you remain safe and aware of the area and of workers who are clearing snow and ice.

Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Stay alert. Architect of the Capitol (AOC) personnel are working hard to clear the grounds of snow and ice. Getting to and from the sledding area on the West Front crosses routes used by heavy equipment and large trucks needed for snow removal.
  2. Dress for success. Wear sensible clothing that is waterproof and warm. If you have a winter sports helmet, wear it. A bicycle helmet can also be used if you don’t have a winter sports helmet.  
  3. Use the right equipment. Opt for sleds that are easy to control and steer. The Hill can get busy, so being able to control your sled is important.
  4. Know the terrain. The U.S. Capitol Grounds is a historic arboretum with memorial and commemorative trees throughout campus. In the area opened for sledding, the AOC has surrounded most of the older trees and saplings with fencing to protect them from errant sleds. The ground also has natural bumps and inconsistencies that make the hillside uneven and occasionally difficult to traverse. If you see an obstacle approaching and cannot stop the sled, roll off and away from the obstacle.
  5. Use your head. Sit in a forward-facing position. Sliding down the Hill on your stomach, head first, puts you at a greater risk for head injury.       
  6. Listen. Listen to any directions provided by the United States Capitol Police who are monitoring the snow activities on the Hill.

We want you to have fun while also staying safe and warm. Happy sledding!