Printed on: December 30, 2012

Youngsters hit Idaho Falls sledding slopes

By Mike Mooney

The sledding conditions weren't perfect at Freeman Park, but no one was complaining.

In fact, the snow that began falling in the area just before Christmas couldn't have been more appreciated by the 25 or so children who, with parents and grandparents in tow, hit the slopes with their sleds Thursday afternoon.

"It's fun," Keegan Beattie said.

The 8-year-old boy flattened out -- belly-side down -- on a sled-shaped piece of foam. The board's bottom was covered with plastic. After a few minor adjustments, Keegan was ready. Though it still was early afternoon, it would be one of the boy's last runs of the day.

His dad, Zach Beattie, crouched down behind the sled, mustered his strength and gave Keegan a mighty heave -- sending boy and board hurtling down the slope.

Well, maybe not hurtling.

Clumps of grass pushed up through the snow at the top of the hill, making the takeoff a bit slow. But the slope got faster as Keegan, as well as youngsters on at least a half-dozen other sleds, careened toward the bottom.

Zach Beattie wore a broad smile as he watched Keegan's trajectory.

"I grew up here (in Idaho Falls)," he said. "We live in Oregon now, south of Portland. The boys don't see a lot of snow."

Beattie was in town visiting family for the holiday. So the snow that began falling in earnest Christmas Eve was a bonus.

There was a bit of a nip in the air Thursday afternoon that grew more biting as the time between sled runs expanded.

Keegan's 5-year-old brother, Kayden, was just about ready to call it a day. Looking up at his dad, the boy shared an uncomfortable truth.

"My toes are freezing," he said.

Little brother Kyler, 3, already was safely -- and warmly -- secured in the family car.

A few hundred yards away, Brook Monroe and his family also were making the best of the snow. They, too, were in town visiting friends and family for Christmas.

The onetime area residents make their home in Spanish Fork, Utah. They, too, found the sledding slow going, but that didn't stop the fun.

"We've actually got quite a bit (of snow) at home," Monroe said, "probably about 10 inches."

He said they would have stayed a bit longer at the park Thursday had they not been heading to the movies.

Keegan, meanwhile, was preparing for another run.

Although he's been known to ride sleds while lying on his back, he said he preferred to ride on his belly -- facing front -- as he negotiated the hill at Freeman Park.

A couple of weeks ago, Keegan went tubing at Oregon's Mount Hood with his Cub Scout pack. Now, that was fast -- much faster than the slope at Freeman.

But sledding at Freeman Park was every bit as much fun, he said.

Besides, Christmas in Idaho Falls was about to come to an end.

"We're heading home tomorrow," Zach Beattie said. "One last adventure in the snow before we head back to the rain."

Mike Mooney can be reached at 542-6764. Comment on this story on Post Talk at