Of the Baker City Herald

In the summertime, the 10th hole at the Baker City Golf Course is a nice little 171-yard par 3, reachable by decent golfers with a five iron.

In the winter, its quite another thing.

By many reports, its Baker Citys best sledding hill.

At the end of the tee box on most days during the Christmas holiday, youll find a dozen or so youth sitting aboard inexpensive plastic sleds, ready to careen down the fairway and down a steep hill.

Chart the proper course, and youll cross over a narrow creek via a bridge. Youll end up within pitching wedge distance of the green itself.

Or, if youre a real thrill-seeker, you can aim your sled at a built-up section just left of the bridge. Hit it just right, and youll experience the thrill of flying through the air, if only for a moment, and then landing gracefully, triumphantly, on the other side.

Or, if youre not so lucky, youll get wet.

In the summertime, thats not a problem (unless its your ball that goes in the drink).

But Thursday morning, with the wind chill factor in the low teens, a potential dunking was the last thing on the minds of sledders.

Mike Masaitis, Derek Timmons and Kody Johnson said theyre out sledding just about every day over the vacation. Johnson and Timmons each had landed in the water that morning, but that didnt diminish their enthusiasm.

I probably had the worst wipeout I had in my life this morning, Masaitis said. I bent my leg back, and it still hurts, but Im having fun.

Nine-year-old Kayla Kirby chose the bunny hill next door, a shorter hill with a bigger stopping area that made it almost impossible to fall into the creek.

Rather than blitzing down the hill at breakneck speed, Kirby used a swirling purple saucer to make her way to the bottom.

Going really fast is the best, but spinning down the hill is fun, too, she said.

Her friend, James Whitebread, 10, chose another means of transportation the snowboard Santa had just brought him for Christmas.

Were going up to Anthony Lakes Saturday, so we figured wed let him practice here, said his father, Mike. I wonder what well have to do to get him on the chair.

Not much, judging from his progress over just a few minutes Thursday. After just a coule trips down the smaller hill, Whitebread was beginning to master staying up on his snowboard.

Baker High School sophomore Brian Conklin pronounced the 10th fairway the best.

Its got great snowpack, and its got that jump over the creek, he said. Ill be out here a lot over the break.