To go snow sledding all you have to have is a sled (or something
similar that will slide on snow), snow, a hill, and yourself. The whole
family can dress in snow gear, and head out for a day of fun on the
hills. Most areas that get much snow have popular places for sledding
that can easily be found while driving around.
Still, snow sledding is not as easy as it may appear. In fact, CLICK
HERE to watch some very entertaining and eye-opening videos of a
few awesome snow sledding wipeouts and bloopers! These videos provide
the best reasons for why you must read on and learn all you can about
the wonderful world of snow sledding!
• Dog sleds—these are often used in races, as well as to haul large items from one place to another.
• Toboggans—these are basically just sleds without runners and are available in many different forms just as sleds are.
• Hand sleds—these are not sleds that are to be ridden on and are instead pulled behind the person with a rope. These are great for transporting items.
• Freight Sleds—these are similar to hand sleds because they are meant for transporting freight, but there are a few differences. One main difference is that these are often pulled by dogs or people, depending on how heavy the freight is and the distance of travel. They are also different because they appear to have a box atop the sled (these are often called backboards) that keeps items inside.
• Non-sleds—this pertains to all those items that aren’t technically sleds or toboggans, but that are used for the same reason. There are saucers (looks like a large garbage can lid) that are made of plastic, extremely cheap and can reach a high rate of speed just as sleds can. There are also catamarans, that are similar to sleds but are slightly different in the way they are made (they actually look sort of like a mini-trampoline attached to two large skis). These are often close to the same price as sleds, and offer about the same amount of steering ability. There are also a variety of toboggans that are very non-traditional, such as the plastic toboggan that has a steering wheel.With the many different types of sleds available, you are sure to find one that fits your needs perfectly. Whether you are looking for fun on a hill, or are interested in transporting large items through snow, there are sleds to fit almost any need.
• Clear Area—you want to be as safe as possible while sledding, so you want to make sure that there is nothing in the way for you to run into. Since you can’t always control your direction, especially children, you will want to make sure that almost all of the area is clear. You will want to avoid any slopes or hills that have such things as large rocks, trees, fences, etc. People can also act as an obstacle, possibly injuring them or the sledder, as well. This means it is best to not go on a hill that has too many people.
• Safe Bottom—it is extremely important that you check out the bottom of a hill before riding it, especially if children will be sledding on it. Some hills may end up in a parking lot or a street, and this could be very dangerous for anyone on a sled. This becomes even more true the faster the sled is going.
• Steepness—this is one of the most important factors when determining whether a spot is best for sledding or not. It needs to be fairly steep so that the sled can actually get going, but if it is too steep, the speed can increase to the point that the sled becomes out of control and the driver may have a hard time regaining it. So, you want your hill to be just right when it comes to how steep it is for sledding.
• Snow Depth—it is very important that the hill you are thinking about using has good snow coverage. If you happen to sled down one that doesn’t, you may end up stopping abruptly on a dry area. This can lead to damage to the sled and injury to the driver if you are going fairly fast.The above tips can help you find the best snow sledding spots, and they can help you keep safe while having winter fun. One of the best things to look for in a snow sled location is very few people. Be sure to check all other points out, as well, because some hills are avoided for a reason. But, if you can find a safe hill with few people, you can spend all day having a blast without worrying about other people.
• Purchase the best sled—this can go a long way toward preventing injuries. Instead of choosing a toboggan or a snow disk, you should pick a sled that has runners and some form of steering ability. This gives the rider more control and can avoid unnecessary injuries.
• Pick the best path possible—before you simply head down a hill, you should be aware of what’s at the bottom of it. Does it end at a street or parking lot? Are there trees that can provide an obstacle? These are important questions to answer when finding the perfect sledding path. Any area that is dense in rocks, trees, or has fences is not the best sledding area. It is also important to try to avoid paths that are extremely crowded with people (people can pose just as big a hazard as inanimate objects).
• Have your child wear protective gear—when any child under the age of 12 is sledding, they should be wearing a helmet as well as protective pads (such as thick gloves that add cushion to a fall). Since the snow clothes that your child is wearing may provide a thick cover, knee pads and elbow pads aren’t usually necessary, but there’s no harm in putting these on your child just to be safe. The most important protective piece, however, is a helmet. Injuries to the head can be detrimental, and the only way to prevent them is with a helmet.
• Always supervise—while watching your child sled cannot always prevent an injury from occurring, you can at least offer immediate help if an accident occurs. If you are supervising, you also eliminate the risk that your child will try a dangerous stunt because kids tend to do that only when their parents aren’t looking. You can also tell your child if they have done something that could end up in injury to change their actions for the next time. Doing this can possibly prevent any future injuries.By following the above guidelines, you ensure that sledding this winter is not only fun, but safe as well. Your family will be able to safely enjoy this winter activity for years to come.
Before you let the kids run out the door to sled with their neighborhood friends, keep these things in mind! Here is a thorough sledding checklist for kids playing on their own.
1. Properly dressed? Make sure
your child has comfortable and warm snow gear made specifically for the
winter. All appendages should be covered, so dress your child in thick
socks, snow boots, gloves or mittens, and a good hat. Wearing a layer
of comfortable, but thin, pants underneath snow pants is a good idea
for warmth and insulation. Make sure he or she grabs a good winter
2. ID? Yes, a form of identification. This is not necessarily a paranoid parent’s addition to a sledding checklist; it is a wise and “just in case” item that you will not appreciate until it’s too late.
3. Chap stick. Most kids won’t even notice their cracking lips, but some will grow irritated at the chaffed and stinging feeling. With chap stick in an easily accessible coat pocket, he or she will be well prepared!
4. Is the sled cracked or damaged? Tighten any loose screws and check for cracks in the plastic of the sled your child is taking. Everything should be ship-shape for a safe ride!
5. Buddy system! If your child just can’t wait for his buddies before he plunges into the snow, make sure you are either able to see his playing from the window or yard, or simply go along yourself! Sledding is an activity that can be quite enjoyable even when alone, however the buddy system is much safer. Someone to watch for cars if the hill is near a street, to help if an injury occurs, or to go get help if necessary.
“Lets all go together!”
When your whole family takes a trip to the favorite sledding hill, there are even more items to bring along, just in case! This sledding checklist will help you prepare.
1. Warm clothing. Gloves,
jackets, scarves, boots, hats and snow pants for everybody!
2. Safe equipment? Make sure to check all of the sleds you are going to use, for loose screws or cracked plastic. Discard any damaged plastic sleds—the best way to fix them is to get a new one! For wooden sleds or sleds that have any extra parts, make sure everything is tightened and secure.
3. Camera! Often we forget to take photos of random, fun times—especially those we do often. But the days when you play out in the snow with your children is just as special to document in the family album as a school play or birthday party. These are the moments to catch in time!
4. Helmets. It is true that you don’t often see a helmeted kid coasting down the hill, but this is a crucial form of protection, especially on steep hills. Sledding accidents and fatal injuries are more common that you would think.
5. Inspect the hill. Check out the downhill you will be sledding on for any huge bumps or twigs and rocks that will affect the ride down!
6. Feet first! Sledding is a blast, but it has its risks. Encourage everyone in your family to ride down feet first, for better control, and to avoid a massive head injury. Plunging head first at 10-20 miles an hour can cause a lot of trouble!
Not only do the best clothes for sledding provide added warmth, they can help keep you safe in the event of a collision or other accident. Follow the guidelines below to ensure that you have the best experience while sledding.
• Wear Layers—while it may seem hot while you are putting them on, it won’t feel that way as soon as you step outside. The first layer should include long underwear (the shirt and pants often referred to as “long johns”). You should then put on a layer of long-sleeved shirts and pants, followed by a sweater or sweatshirt. The outer layer of clothes should consist of ski or snow pants, as well as a jacket or coat. If you are worried about getting hot, you can always remove layers while you are out, but it is best to have too many clothes than to not have enough.
• Focus on materials—you may believe that cotton is best for warmth, and this is often true. But, in the case of getting snow on your clothes, cotton is not usually the best choice. This is because cotton holds moisture when wet, and snow can get your clothes wet easily. If you wear cotton, you may find yourself cold and wet for most of the day. Instead, you should opt for clothing made with synthetic polyester or polypropylene materials. If you are wearing a sweater, you can choose a material such as fleece to stay warm and dry longer than traditional cotton allows. For your outer layer of clothes, you should try to find pieces that are water and wind resistant.
• Boots—the boots are one of the most important parts of playing in the snow, and can make the difference between a miserably cold and wet experience and a warm and dry good time. Be sure the boots you wear are specifically designed to be worn in the snow. These should have rubber at least up to the ankle, and they should be warm and fuzzy inside. When combined with the proper ski pants, your feet can stay warm and dry all day.
• Hats and Gloves—these are some of the most important parts of playing in the snow. Gloves that are made for snow days are best. They are often warmer inside while preventing your hands from getting wet. Other types of gloves aren’t made for this type of exposure. For a hat, you can choose a beanie or any other type of hat that will keep your head warm. If you don’t have a hat that covers your ears, you may want to get a scarf or earmuffs. Either of these (or both) can help you stay warm and enjoy the day for longer.
• Sunscreen—most people forget to apply sunblock when it’s wintertime. But, it is even more important now because the sun reflects off the snow, giving you a double-dose of the damaging rays. Apply sunblock just as you would for playing in a pool on a hot summer day.By following the above guidelines when purchasing gear for snowboarding, you will ensure that you will stay warm and dry all day. This can make the experience a lot more fun and memorable for everyone!