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Sledders say best site in Columbia is Stephens Lake Park

Friday, December 24, 2010 | 11:38 a.m. CST; updated 3:56 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 26, 2010
Amanda Nicklas, 11, rides on her father Eric Nicklas' back down the hill at Stephens Lake Park on Friday. About 3 inches of snow blanketed Columbia on Christmas Eve. The Nicklas family said they come out to sled every time it snows no matter how cold it gets outside.

COLUMBIA — At 10 a.m. Friday, more than two dozen sledders were on the hill at Stephens Lake Park.

The Nicklas family said it is the best place to sled in Columbia.

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"Without a doubt," said Eric Nicklas, who was out with his wife, Jean, and children, Amanda, 11, Brad, 9, and Gracie, 5. 

He said they get to the hill no matter what the condition.

"Last year when it was ice, you couldn't even walk up the hill," Nicklas said. "You'd fly down the hill and wind up all the way over by the trees. It was great."

Amanda recalled her favorite sledding memory: "The first time on a torpedo sled, I didn't know what to expect. It was a little too fast for my liking."

It may be the perfect thing for a child to wake up to — a blanket of snow covering Columbia.

Stephens Lake Park features a variety of sledding options from a slow, long run to a short, steep, high-speed slope. There were even a few snow ramps under construction for snowboards to catch some air.

"On your stomach is a lot more of a thrill," Amanda Nicklas said. "It's fun with the snow splashing up in your face."

Her dad got in some fun with his kids as well, when each of them took turns riding down the hill on their father's back. He also was the main target for the snowballs tossed between trips down the hill.

"I brought one in the house and hit him while he was making breakfast this morning," Jean Nicklas said.

The wet, heavy snow that fell on Columbia overnight packs well.

"We're going to go home and make a snowman after this," Eric Nicklas said.


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