Sledding is meant to be fun, a flight of reckless fancy down an icy or snowy hill.

Unfortunately, a 16 year old from Yorkshire in England decided it would be a wise idea to slide merrily down a slippery incline… with a barbed wire fence at the bottom. Unfortunately, she died shortly afterward — luckily her 3 other friends that also joined her in this stupid spectacle survived with serious injuries.

Apparently they used the roof of a car, turned upside down. Pretty clever, when you think about it, for a bunch of 16 year olds. Shame really that the fence that sliced her into little itty pieces at the bottom has probably guaranteed her a Darwin Award.

Anyway, the idea of make-shift sledges reminded me of a time in my first year at university. The campus itself was built into the basin of some kind of valley, so there were pretty large hills all around the campus. One of these hills was particuarly steep — man made, when they had to level out some ground. One week in winter, it snowed rather heavily.

‘Wouldn’t it be great if all 16 of us could sled down the hill together?’ someone asked, aware that the answer was certainly ‘no’.

‘Well… we do have that huge ‘COMPUTER SALE NOW ON’ laminated banner that we stole from PC World last week…’

Yeah, we had a 10-meter banner that once adorned a big superstore in town. And it was lovely and plasticised — perfect for sliding down a hill at high-speed! (Something like this, only about 3 times as long.)

So, there we are at the top of the hill, banner on the ground, and each of us trying put as many meat shields as possible between the front and us. No one wanted to be at the front (duh), so in the end our brave, American transfer student called Josh offered to sit at the front. How American (he got all the girls, too). Proof that you can have brains, or brawn, not both.

The sad thing is, there was a wall at the bottom of the hill, so we knew it was going to be a painful landing. We figured the fun would far out-weigh the pain that awaited us at the bottom.

Luckily Josh took the brunt of the landing, so the rest of us escaped unhurt and having just had one of the best moments of our lives. I just wish I had more photos from that time at university… I am so sad that I didn’t scan in all the photos that my friends took before I left university. Now I may never see them again… damn.

Bumming it around Belgrade
Throw another shrimp on the barbie


I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.