If ever a Canadian child looked out their classroom window on a warm day and daydreamed about a foot of fresh snow, imagining the perfect tobogganing hill to spend a snow day on with friends, that winter-paradise hill exists in reality, and it’s in Lethbridge.
We’re holding nothing back. No qualifying our statement. We’re just going to say it: he best tobogganing hill in Alberta is the Sugar Bowl in south Lethbridge.
The swooping dog-leg bowl provides about half a kilometre of sledding routes around the perimeter. With varying pitches and humps, every tobogganer has their favourite section, but they all end up in the same bowl bottom where the climb back to the top begins.
The official name of the Sugar Bowl is Ravine Park, though even some of the most seasoned locals don’t know it by that title. It has been the Sugar Bowl for decades, with one child’s happy memories layered with new ones when they grow up and bring their own children back to the same spot.
Of course, the Sugar Bowl isn’t just a place for kids. You’re never too old for tobogganing. In fact, Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman never rode the Sugar Bowl as a kid since he didn’t grow up in the area, but he’s been known to frequent the spot as an adult.
“My old aluminum toboggan is known locally as ‘The Decapitator’,” he told us. So keep your heads up and eyes open for the mayor on an all-metal death sled zipping down the hill.
Alongside the famous High Level Bridge, Lethbridge’s signature feature is the coulee that splits the city. Countless ravines lead from the prairie level down to the gully cut by the Old Man River, but Ravine Park is one ravine that is capped on the coulee side by Scenic Drive as it wraps around the south part of the city. An artificial bank of earth cuts straight across the ravine to support the road, creating a bowl perfect for sledding.
On those amazing, Albertan, winter days where the ground is glaring white and the sky is beaming bright blue, the Sugar Bowl is filled with laughing and squealing as sometimes hundreds of kids and kids-at-heart take their sled of choice down the slopes.
But the sliding isn’t just for winter. On hot, summer days, you’ll often find groups of bathing-suit-clad Lethbians taking turns slipping down a long, wet sheet of plastic in the Sugar Bowl, tumbling onto the soggy grass at the bottom.
This sledding paradise is located between 20 Avenue and 20A Avenue South and between Scenic Drive and 20 Street. There is plenty of parking all along the top of the bowl on the residential streets, and there is a playground up top on the east end.
See you there! Bring your fastest sled. Race you to the bottom!