The daredevils crowded at the top of Dix Hill on Wednesday, preparing to slide down the city’s undisputed favorite of sledding hills, perched on air mattresses, surfboards and a cookie sheet coated with Pam.
Then the city upped the ante by handing out 500 free plastic saucers, distributing them off the back of a golf cart, and suddenly hundreds more daring residents tore down the slope with a souvenir from Winter Storm Inga.
“I was surprised my dog stayed on so long,” said Dariann Reed, collecting herself at the hill’s bottom and gathering up her spotted friend Asher.
Thanks to money from an anonymous donor, the saucers turned Dorothea Dix Park a shade of lime green as wet snow invited hundreds of thrill-seekers. The slope is locally famous for attracting hotdogs on makeshift sleds crafted from ironing boards and laundry baskets. But with Raleigh’s gift, the sledders dreamed up new levels of crazy.
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Ten students from N.C. State University all tackled the sharpest drop together, each of them with their bottoms perched on a new Dix sled. As they dropped down together, they resembled a mass of green Jell-O rushing down a playground slide.
“We link arms to be more close to each other,” said Olivia Merritt.
“And we shred,” said Basil Dissi.
“And we watch each other scream,” said Vanessa Merritt.
The hills at Dix always attract stuntmen, some of whom build sleds or ride down standing up. But so many people tried the roughly 300-foot run Wednesday that crowding formed the greatest hazard. Saucer riders rammed into each other at the hill’s bottom, at least one collision sending a middle-aged man skyward, legs akimbo.
But the knocked-down sledders dusted themselves off and climbed the hill for another go as the golf cart kept circling, inviting more to the fun.