Sledding in Oak Creek has been bringing adults, children together for decades
OAK CREEK — Allison Duron’s eyes widened as she stepped into her plastic sled, stared down the hill and touched the frozen powder surrounding her.
The 9-year-old from Guatemala was visiting family in Oak Creek over the weekend and had never seen snow or experienced single-digit temperatures before Saturday.
While in the town, Allison and her mother, Sara, decided to check out the makeshift sledding hill that they could see from the window of a family member’s house.
The town’s makeshift sled hill — a tradition in Oak Creek since at least the 1950s — sits atop Moffat Avenue. When enough snow accumulates, and with permission from homeowners on both sides of the road, town officials block off Moffat Avenue between Colorado Highway 131 and Nancy Crawford Avenue.
The town does not make snow or shovel excess snow onto the hill. Instead, town officials rely on having enough natural powder fall for locals and visitors to sled down.
Sandy Wisecup, a longtime Oak Creek local who lives next to the hill, said it is part of Oak Creek’s rich history.
“It’s a tradition and it’s something for the kids to do,” Wisecup said. “I like to go out and watch the kids.”
While the town has been largely supportive of the activity, Wisecup said several years ago, some people living near the hill wanted the road to remain open, so the town stopped closing it off.
However, Wisecup’s daughter-in-law, Debbie, put together a petition asking town officials to begin closing it again. After receiving enough signatures, the hill resumed its place as a staple in Oak Creek’s winter lineup.
“Old-time Oak Creek, when they get to talking about the sledding hills, they have all kinds of memories,” Wisecup said. “It’s important to us.”
The hill covers Moffat Avenue in the area Oak Creek residents call “Capitol Hill.” However, sitting much shorter and steeper than the more official hill, those looking for a more thrilling experience can sled, ski or snowboard down the hill at Decker Park.
On New Year’s Day in 8 degree weather, Lawrence Jaconetta took his two children and their two friends to the Decker Park hill. Jaconetta said he takes his kids to the hill almost every day, and the tradition is as much fun for him as it is for them.
“It’s for adults and kids, alike,” Jaconetta said. “It’s something fun for us all to do.”
Having lived in Oak Creek since 2005, Jaconetta said the hill represents Oak Creek’s values — bonding between families and neighborhoods, sharing activities and building a community together.
“It’s really what Oak Creek is about,” Jaconetta said.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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