FALMOUTH – Gravity beckoned. Under more than a foot of fresh snow, the steep approach to the first green at Cape Cod Country Club had called Nate Rockwood, 16, and his friend, Neil Koontz, 17. Both are juniors at Falmouth High School, and both live in East Falmouth.
“I’ve been coming to this hill since I was little,” explained Rockwood. “We figured we’d come back here and relive some childhood memories.”
Rockwood held a tube and pointed to a sled held by Koontz. “That’s actually mine, but it’s funnier when he wipes out,” said Rockwood. Both were painted head-to-toe with flecks of snow – Koontz even more than Rockwood.
“We realized we are the oldest ones here and we are also the ones most full of snow,” said Rockwood, who said that falling in snow is fun.
“Snow’s soft,” said Koontz.
Carved by a glacier, or God, or perhaps a golf course architect, the all-white hill framed by deep green scrub pine and blue sky, attracted teenage pilgrims like Koontz and Rockwood, as well as families and even a snowboarder and his father.
Christos Karplus, 15, of Falmouth, had come here the day before with his father Eric Karplus, 44, of Falmouth, to build two well-designed consecutive snow jumps. “This is pretty much the only hill on Cape Cod that you can snowboard on,” said Christos, a freshman at Falmouth High School.
“It takes 10 to 15 minutes to build the jump, at least the form of it, said Christos. “And then you have to keep packing it down.”
Eric explained, “We just like outdoor stuff. We needed something outside. We just know this is a great hill for building a jump. We started together and then as he jumped, I stayed and touched it up.”
While Christos displayed how fun the jumps are for snowboarding, Eric said, “Tubes are the best for these jumps. They really get flying.” Old-school flexible flyer sleds, he said, are not recommended.
On this particular snow day, inflatables seemed to be the popular choice while etiquette, such as walking up the side of the hill rather than the middle, was often learned the hard way – through a collision and tears. Gravity, it turns out, is fun yet unforgiving.
But though there were rare moments of worry on the thrilling hill, most figured out how it worked immediately. This hill, after all, has been “the sledding hill” in Falmouth for decades.
While the first green at Cape Cod Country Club is known by many as a sledding destination, it is discovered anew every year, as it was this day by Ron Zuwallack, his wife, Elizabeth McLeish, and their children, Angus, 11, and Cora, 9.
“We don’t get many chances, so we’re going to go for it,” said Ron, as the family headed from their car towards the top of the hill.
Angus, a student at Morse Pond School, said he just loved going down the hill, but Cora, a student at Teaticket School, pointed out that, “We traded tubes. We each liked the other’s design better.”
— Brian Tarcy