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STUTTGART, Germany — The Friday before New Year’s weekend. A day off for most of the military. A perfect day for sledding.

“It’s fast and it’s fun, especially that jump up there,” said 13-year-old Tyler Vaughn. “I went like about 4 feet. It felt like it, anyway.”

Conditions were ideal for sledding at Robinson Barracks in Stuttgart. There was a lot of fresh snow, it was cold enough to keep it powdery, but sunny enough to stay warm.

About 75 people were frolicking on the hill, which was about 150 yards long. Two dogs — Rika, a 5-month-old Hungarian Vizsla, and Petra, an 11-month-old Springer spaniel — were running down the hill after the sledders.

The hill was steep enough to pick up good speed but not too steep or too long, which made walking back up a little easier. The half-bowl shape offers a lot of different ways down. Parts of the hill had matted-down snow, which was good for the saucers, flat plastic sleds and inner-tubes. Parts were a little deeper, which worked well for the taller German-made sleds with two runners.

“On the powder they go great because they’ve got the high ground clearance,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Norman.

There was even a sled with a baby seat.

The key to good sledding: Let gravity do the work.

“Don’t try to steer, unless you’re going to hit somebody,” said 14-year-old Scott Norman. “When you try to steer, you start wobbling back and forth and then you flip over.”

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