Sledding is a Family Tradition at Knoll and Mount Tabor Hills
Both golf course hills were packed with generations of sledders this week.
Ever since residents can remember, the bumpiest, steepest slopes on the Mount Tabor golf course sledding hill have been called "blood and guts.''
"If you had the guts to you down, you got the blood,'' said Paul Breslauer, a Lake Parsippany resident who lived in Mount Tabor from 1966 to 1985.
When Breslauer was growing up, "blood and guts''-- erroneously known by more recent residents as "bloody guts'--had the fearsome reputation as a toboggan shredder. "When you went down, the toboggan always got broken,'' he remembers. " A lot of tailbones got hurt.''
But on Wednesday, Bresaluer was one of many parents who brought his children, Haley, 7, and J.D., 8, to sled at the country club golf course--although they avoided "blood and guts'' and stuck to the hill's gentler slopes.
At both the Tabor golf course and The Knoll West Country Club, sledding is a tradition passed down through generations, where parents go to relive childhood snow days and kids lug snow boards and innertubes.
The Tabor slopes, which some believe are shorter and quicker than The Knoll, also draw out-of-towners, like Joan and Joe McGavin of Denville, who were at The Mount Tabor hills on Monday with their children and about ten nieces and nephews.
"It's a good run for the kids and it's not too much of a walk up the hill for me,'' said Joe McGavin, who has been coming to the Tabor hill for four years.
John Picorale, who's been sledding at the Knoll for more than 40 years, was there Wednesday with is six-year-old son Giovanni, who has been coming here since he was two months old.
"I love sledding," he exclaimed.
Giovanni showed no fear as he navigated his tie-dyed patterned sled down the wide sledding hill at the country club, in the Knoll West's driving range area. He stayed closer to the left, where the older kids usually reign.
To the right, younger ones experimented with the shorter side of the hill. The lines were blurry, though, as everyone slid wherever the snow was solid enough to create a fast track.
On Wednesday, the launching pad at the top of the hill was starting to turn more brown than white. Foot traffic on the slopes since Sunday's blizzard was taking its toll. But the snow on the actual slope was packed tightly enough for rapid trips all the way to the bottom.
There were more than 50 sledders, ranging from newly-walking toddlers to teens on snowboards and parents reliving their younger years. It was a mix of lifelong Knoll devotees and first-time visitors.
Judy Tiedemann, 67, started coming since she was 14. On Tuesday, she brought her grandchildren, twins Nicholas and Ashley, 7, who are visiting from Virginia. After nearly two hours, they showed no signs of slowing down. With the weather nearing the 40 degress, Tiedemann said she didn't mind staying all day.
"I love it. The weather is fabulous, they can still sled but it's not windy or bitter cold. Where they live it's completely flat, there's no sledding. This is joyous for them."
Nicholas was anxious to try the huge mogul that a group of snowboarders had built. His grandmother was a wary, but gave him permission. She still remembers hitting a huge jump as a teenager. "I did two full somersaults on the other side," she recalls with a smile, "But I didn't get hurt."
At the Tabor hill about 15 years ago, a young man died sledding at night when his sled hit a ball cleaner pipe on the more level side of the hill--not on the "blood and guts'' slope-- but the pipe was removed and there have been no fatalities since.
At the Knolll, the hill hasn't changed since Tiedmann was a girl. "Maybe it was a little higher, a little more of a pitch, and we could go a little further, but I think it was almost exactly the same."
One difference, says Picorale, is that in the '80s, everyone used to gather around a campfire. "We'd bring hot dogs, hamburgers, throw a full barbeque," he says.
They also used to sled on the other side of the Knoll West Clubhouse, where "No Sledding" signs and fences now stand. Picorale remembers flying over a jump in a 10-person tobaggan sled. "When we landed, it shattered. Everyone went every way." But no one was hurt.
Tiedemann remembers the Knoll sledding hill being lit at night in the past. She's hoping it still is. No matter what time they get home for dinner, if it's lit, she says, "We'll be back."