7 Best Snow Sleds | March 2017
- rigid materials to prevent bending
- can also be used to haul gear
- has a convenient pull rope
- easy to carry up a hill
- big enough for adults to ride on too
- bottom rails for straighter runs
- single ski in front for easy control
- four different color options
- 100 pound maximum capacity
- comfortable double knee construction
- made from tough wood and steel
- pre-drilled holes for pull rope
Types of Snow Sleds
Snow sleds are specifically designed with slick bottoms or runners to carry one to two passengers and easily glide along the snow while being either pulled, pushed or ridden downhill.
There are several types of snow sleds that you will encounter while shopping for your best option. The first is often referred to as a toboggan. It is generally long, sits directly on the ground, and can hold up to two passengers. It is usually made from plastic but is sometimes made from wood.
The second type of sled might be the most popular and is a steel runner sled. It has the classic design that is often seen in movies and is made of wood with steel runners that are capable of carrying the sled at high speeds.
The third is called a saucer. As its name suggests, it is round and curved. It also has no runners and sits directly on the ground. It is usually made of plastic and is slick on the bottom so it will pick up speed and spin while flying downhill.
Other types of sleds include kicksleds, foam sliders, and back country sleds. There are also sleds designed specifically for small children that can be pushed or pulled by an adult using a rope or handle and are not designed to be ridden downhill.
The majority of today’s snow sleds are intended for recreational use although there are still sleds such as bobsleds and luges used for competitions. There are also sleds used in cold weather climates for travel that are pulled by animals such as dogs or horses.
Don't Click The Buy Button Just Yet
Purchasing a snow sled can be a fairly straightforward transaction. You don’t need to take many things into consideration before you run out and buy one. After all, you just need something that slides on the snow, right?
As it turns out, it’s not always that simple. There are so many types of snow sleds on the market now that there are a few things you will need to think about before you open your wallet.
First, consider the age recommendations on the product you are considering buying. Some snow sleds are built specifically for babies and toddlers and are not intended to be ridden downhill. They are often only meant to be pushed and pulled through the snow by adults. Still other sleds are intended for particular age groups based on their size. Many sledding injuries happen because of improper supervision and using the wrong sled.
Second, consider the weight capacity of your chosen snow sled. This is especially important if you plan to purchase a toboggan or saucer sled. Some toboggans are built specifically to hold two or more people. However, saucer sleds are generally built for one, and injuries can occur if the weight recommendations are exceeded.
Third, take a look at the material from which the sled is constructed. Many are made of plastic, but some are made from wood and steel. Some are even made of foam. The light-weight sleds are generally made from foam or plastic and are built to be affordable and reach significant speeds while still preventing certain injuries that occur with more solid materials. Wood and metal tend to be more durable over time but can sometimes result in painful injuries if used improperly.
Next, consider the type of sled you want. If you want a toboggan that is easy to use and transport, it will generally be a more affordable purchase than a classic wooden sled with steel runners. However, the nostalgia and speed of the classic snow sleds are often worth the additional cost if it is an age-appropriate purchase.
The most important consideration when purchasing a snow sled is safety. Children should be properly supervised at all times when using their snow sled, and it should always fit the recommended age and weight limits.
A Brief History of the Snow Sled
Sleds were originally developed for practical purposes in geographical areas that received snowfall for a large portion of the year. Sledding vehicles were invented in order to transport people or important materials from one place to another. They were easier to use and more efficient in the snow than cars, carriages, or other wheeled vehicles. The large sledding vehicles were often pulled by an animal such as an ox, horse, or dog.
The word “sled” is derived from the Middle English word “sledde” which meant “slider.” It seems an appropriate term since that’s basically what happens when you use a sled.
The earliest sleds were actually intended for use on sand and were developed by the early Egyptians around 2600 BCE. They used wooden sleds to haul materials to their construction sites.
It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that snow sledding began to develop into an actual sport. In Davos, Switzerland in 1883, George Robertson, an Australian student, won the world’s first international sled race. He won this race on what is considered a traditional wooden sled that is often referred to as a “Davoser” based on that first race. This sled eventually evolved into the classic wooden sled with steel runners that we still know and love today.
Today, sledding continues to be a recreational activity mostly enjoyed by children. However, snow sledding is still present in many sports and including the luge and bobsledding. Recreational snow activities have evolved over time to include skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. There are many resorts in winter climates across the world that make significant money renting equipment and offering lessons to people who wish to learn and enjoy this popular winter pastime.