Sledders cheer up Capitol Hill while shutdown stalemate continues

Children cut the rancorous mood in Washington and flew down Capitol Hill on sleds.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When up to a foot of snow walloped Washington over the weekend, it gave joyful kids a reason to play, sledding down Capitol Hill and cutting the rancorous mood over the partial government shutdown. 

Furloughed federal workers have been stuck at home for weeks, and those required to work are going without paychecks. But many found that sledding down the massive slope on the West Front under the Capitol Dome is a great way to blow off steam. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

Snow Day in Washington: Sledders, Cancelled Events and Waiting for the Omnibus

D.C. Braces for Blizzard

Architect of the Capitol crews clear snow from the East Plaza of the Capitol at sunrise on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a snow emergency effective Friday morning, as the region prepares for a blizzard that could dump up to 2 feet of snow in the District over the weekend.  

Heavy snow is forecast to start Friday afternoon and last through Saturday evening with wind gusts at up to 50 mph that could lead to whiteout conditions, the National Weather Service said.  

Congress Approves of Capitol Hill Sledding

Members of Congress were accused of being the "grinches" of Capitol Hill for instituting the sledding ban.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The children of Capitol Hill were able to do something uniquely American: call attention to a lack of rights, go forth in protest and win those rights in the end.  

Last winter, a group of neighborhood kids defied a sledding ban at the Capitol and slid down the snow on the West Front, arguing it is the closest and safest hill to slide down. And, when this week's massive, year-end, $1.1 trillion appropriations bill was unveiled, members of Congress agreed. The omnibus spending package extended a provision House appropriators attached in April , which urged the Capitol Police Board to allow sledding on Capitol Hill. The move came after kids in the surrounding neighborhood garnered national media attention for defying the sledding ban. Members of Congress were accused of being the "grinches" of Capitol Hill for instituting the ban.