Sledding banned on Chatham’s Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill on Jan. 20, 2023. Photo Credit: Rachel Scheinberg

Chapel Hill on Jan. 20, 2023. Photo Credit: Rachel Scheinberg

Madison Butina

This winter on Chapel Hill, you’re likely to see a dusting of snow, the completed stormwater project and several signs along the road prohibiting “sliding” – meaning that the long-held, unofficial tradition of sledding on Chapel Hill is now a thing of the past.

This ban on both “sliding” – which means sledding – has been confirmed by Public Safety and Chatham Facilities, both of which cited the steep incline and stormwater project as primary safety concerns. 

The ban exists, despite administration claims that the completed stormwater project would not impact sledding. Walter Fowler, Chatham University’s former senior vice president for finance and administration, told the Communiqué in an interview during the stormwater project’s construction in September 2021. 

Regardless of Fowler’s statement, Public Safety and Chatham Facilities back the prohibition of sledding on Chapel Hill. 

People sled on Chapel Hill in 2021 before the stormwater project construction.
Photo Credit: Lilly Kubit

The incline is steep,” said Director of Facilities Devin Wilson. “It leads into a roadway, and there are large obstacles in the stormwater project area. This makes the area dangerous, as well as the possibility of causing damage to the stormwater system.” 

The tradition of sledding on Chapel Hill is often talked about. In its golden age, Chapel Hill sledding even extended into the greater Pittsburgh community. In 2021, Pittsburgh City Paper’s Winter Guide named Chapel Hill as one of seven places to sled in the city.

However, disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic and construction mean that fewer current students have actually had the chance to sled on Chapel Hill.

 Now, no one will. 

“I’m so mad that I’ve never gotten the opportunity,” said Emi Perdan ‘23.

Though many in the Chatham community were disappointed by the news, there are plenty of other things to do at Chatham this winter. 

“Our goal is that there’s always an event happening,” said Emily Fidago, head of Student Engagement.   

Fidago also shared details about upcoming Discover Pittsburgh events designed to help students explore the city, including visiting the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Oakland, the Mattress Factory museum on the North Side and a Chatham night at a Pittsburgh Penguins game.

The Chapel Hill sliding ban will promote safety on campus, but the tradition will be missed by the Chatham and Pittsburgh

Infographic by: Sonny Butina

communities. The prevalence of events both on and off campus will assist people in forming and partaking in new traditions. 

For once, Pittsburgh’s landscape is something to celebrate. With a whole hilly city in reach, those disappointed about the sledding ban should check out the plethora of alternative sledding spots throughout Pittsburgh.