One of the Hobbets is older than the rest. He steps forward and shakes Wilbur's hand. "Hello! I'm Frederick the Eighth, descended from Original Frederick who settled here in Hornpipe Hill. Welcome! I run the House of Pancakes just over there. Want to come for a quick toboggan ride with us before we eat? Okay, good! Let's go. So many names to keep track of; so many new friends. We already had Dougal and Douglas, Fiona and Fifi, now Wilbur and Willie, next thing you know, we'll have Tooks and Tucks and Tonks coming out our ears. What brings you here to Hornpipe? And, my favorite icebreaker question I ask everyone: What's your favorite kind of breakfast cakes?"
As Frederick chats with Wilbur he leads the party south, pulling the sled behind him. It's a glorious, sunny day, and the fresh powder crunches underfoot. A quarter-mile from the windmill, the Hobbets arrive at their destination. There is a gap in the trees that gives way to a steep, rocky drop-off. Our tobogganeers catch a nice view of the snow-covered hills to the south. There is only one way down through the field of jumbled granite boulders: a vertigo-inducing, icy chute, steep as a ski jump. At the bottom of the hill, cartoonishly far below our heroes, is a wide clearing deep with virgin powder snow.
"This my absolute favorite toboggan spot: the old abandoned Goose Chute Sluice. Don't worry: it's totally safe. I've done this a thousand times, and only fallen off, oh, a couple hundred or so. If my old ass can do it, so can you. Dame Simonetta if you would like to watch from up here, I brought a blanket so you don't have to sit in the snow. And here is a pickynick basket with some scones, coffee, and schnapps. Help yourself. The rest of you: Do you want to watch me take the first run, or are you brave enough to ride with me?"
Who's sledding, and who's spectating?