Some parts of the Triangle got a few inches of snow and some an icy mixture, but most managed to have fun Saturday with whatever they got.
The heaviest snows occurred north and west of Interstate 85, and places like Raleigh and the southern parts of Durham didn’t get snow until the sun rose on Saturday. But the light powder coating was enough to turn Raleigh roads into sledding superhighways.
Near the corner of Dixie Trail and Wade Avenue, Emily Carson, her husband, Brec, their three children and a neighbor trooped through the slushy mix of snow and sleet to sled down some of the quiet neighborhood’s streets.
Carson said she woke up a bit disappointed to see green grass and black asphalt peeking out from a thick layer of icy sleet, but her children didn’t seem to mind as they scooted down hills on sleds she bought yesterday.
“We didn’t go sledding last year,” said Carson’s 9-year-old daughter Clara. “Then we get to have hot chocolate. I really love to go sledding.”
At Dorothea Dix Park, Damien Sykes, his two sons, daughter and fiance Amy Rhodes — who will become his wife on Monday — went snowboarding and sledding on some of the area’s large hills.
Damien Sykes and his sons, Devin, 5, and Damien Jr, 7, woke up Jan. 7, 2017, to find not as much snow as they expected, but enough to sled and snowboard at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, NC.
This is just enough for us to get a little fun and make the best of it.
Sykes said he also peered out the window after waking up and said he wasn’t sorry that there was about 1 inch of snow on the ground instead of 6. The owner of Triple D Mobile Detailing said his work dries up when the weather is cold and snowy.
“This is just enough for us to get a little fun and make the best of it,” Sykes said.
The steep hills at Cary’s Bond Park, near the Prestonwood Country Club, are typically a hotbed for sledding, but some people didn’t need a hill Saturday morning to have fun.
Jessica Schore sat on a sled as her 1-year-old dog Marlo pulled her along the the ice-covered grass. Schore said Marlo was having “the best day ever.”
Meanwhile, Nathan May, 9, and his sister Vivian, 7, got a tow from their dad, Bob, who pulled their sleds through the snow-dusted park with his mountain bike.
Staff photojournalist Travis Long rode alongside of sledding children, including his own son Henry, at Powell GT Magnet Elementary School Saturday, January 7, 2017 in Raleigh, N.C.
Triangle road conditions
Find traffic trouble spots in the Triangle.
In South Durham, longtime pals Grace Driver and Isabel Kagen went to bed Friday night thinking there would be 8 inches of snow on the ground.
The 13-year-olds awoke to little more than a couple of inches, but supported by a sturdy layer of sleet and ice underneath.
Out they went with a plastic sled to a small hill alongside Fenwick Parkway, one of the entrances to their Fairfield neighborhood. They did a few runs.
Up the road, the big hill beckoned. At night after winter blasts, the parkway ices over and becomes about as close to an Olympic bobsled run as a kid can get. It’s steep and has a sweeping curve. Those who can’t hew to it are destined for a ravine along the parkway.
The two friends call it “deathsledding.” (Not quite: Adults serve as spotters, keeping the kids safe from traffic and responding to wipeouts.)
Grace and Isabel have known each other since they were toddlers, so they finish each other’s sentences. Here’s how they describe the ride:
Isabel: “So it gets icy and scary...”
Grace: “And we ride down the hill...”
Isabel: “And we wear helmets...”
Grace: “So we don’t die.
Some who ventured out in the 2 inches of snow that fell through the morning in Chapel Hill were in search of sleds, shovels and salt to put on icy stoops and driveways.
They didn’t notice the handwritten sign on the entrance to the Town and Country hardware store in Timberlyne shopping center that said all three items were sold out.
Brendan Holly, a Chapel Hill High School senior working at the cash register, said many had come into the store unaware of the sign on the door.
“We’ve had to turn them away,” Holly said. “And we even overstocked. They went like hotcakes.”
Watch as the sun sets at Dorothea Dix during winter storm Helena Saturday, January 7, 2017 in Raleigh, N.C.
Tyler Pittman, 12 "snow surfs" in the Eagle Ridge neighborhood Saturday, January 7, 2017 in Garner, N.C.
Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory posted a video on his Facebook page from his Charlotte, N.C. home telling North Carolinians “don’t put your stupid hat on and take care of your pets.”
John Hansen, Ethan Hyman, Dan Kane, Anne Blythe and Martha Quillin contributed to this report.
NC snow and sleet totals
These unofficial observations were taken during the winter storm that crossed North Carolina Jan. 7-8, 2017.