sled n : a vehicle mounted on runners and pulled by horses or dogs; for transportation over snow [syn: sledge, sleigh] v : ride (on) a sled [syn: sleigh] [also: sledding]sledding
1 the sport of riding on a sled or sleigh
2 advancing toward a goal; "persuading him was easy going"; "the proposal faces tough sledding" [syn: going]sledding See sled
- present participle of sled
- Finnish: pulkkailu
The first ride down a hill on a sled is the most important, but most difficult, as it determines the path of the sled for further runs down the hill. It is essential to steer the sled along the most exciting course, perhaps adding twists and turns (maybe straight into a tree) to make the run down the hill more exciting, or faster. Other techniques to improve the ride include turning around, lying on the stomach, or closing both eyes. Running up to a sled and jumping onto it can create additional momentum and improve ride speed. This technique can be referred to as "Flopping."
There are four types of sleds commonly used today: disks, toboggans, tubes, and runner sleds. Each type has advantages and disadvantages if one is trying to get the most out of a given slope.
With each course down the hill, the sled's path through the snow can become more icy. Sleds with a greater surface area (disks, toboggans and tubes) are able to make the first runs a great deal easier than the variety of sleds with metal runners. Runner sleds are typically faster once the snow has compacted or turned icy. In the 1880s, Samuel Leeds Allen invented the first steerable runner sled, the Flexible Flyer. Since that date, the ability to steer the sled away from obstacles has proven this type of sled to be more appropriate for the safety conscious. In addition, runner sleds force the weight of the rider onto two thin runners where the pressure causes a microscopic film of snow or ice to melt as the sled passes over it. This invisible layer of fluid reduces friction, causing the sled's speed to greatly exceed that of its flat bottomed relatives. Some people who sled sometimes use ramps or jumps to increase the danger or fun factor of sledding. In some cases, the ramp or jump may send the participant over objects such as fences, boxes, plants, benches.
Backcountry SleddingIn contrast to the more common forms of sledding, backcountry sledding involves four important elements in combination: a great amount of directional control, flotation, a binding system and padding. First, backcountry sleds are made of strong plastic material, with the snow-side surface possessing various grooves and chines for directional control. Second, the plastic construction, with a large amount of snow-side surface area keeps the sled afloat in deeper snow conditions (the same principle behind wider powder skis or snowboards). Though the original runner sleds possessed directional control, their thin runner blades bogged down in anything but icy or thin snow conditions. Disk sleds, on the other hand, possessed floation but no directional control. Third, modern backcountry sleds have a binding system, which usually consists of a simple belt strap that attaches to the sides of the sled. With the sledder in the kneeling position, the strap may go over the sledder's thighs or calves before connecting with the strap from the other side of the sled with some sort of buckling device. Finally, backcountry sleds have foam pads glued for the sledder go kneel for shock absorption.
Backcountry sledding is a closer kin to backcountry alpine skiing or snowboarding than to traditional "pile the family in the van and go to the local hill" type of sledding. The terrain for backcountry sledding includes gladed powder-filled steeps, open mountain bowls, cliff-filled ridges, and basically anywhere that one finds the powder, steeps, rocks and trees. Backcountry sleds, with the binding system and padding, may also be used for freestyle moves such as spins and flips off jumps and rail slides. Though similarities exist between backcountry sledding and alpine skiing/snowboarding, important differences separate the disciplines. From a technical perspective, the lack of a metal edge and the lower center of gravity make it more difficult to directionally-control a backcountry sled on icy or packed snow surfaces. From an access perspective, alpine resorts do not allow sledding on the actual mountain, except for the occasional small tubing hill. And in essence, backcountry sledding is a more underground, do-it-yourself activity that will not cost you an arm and a leg to get into.
RisksThe nature of sledding (high speed, uncontrollable sleds, and often a hazardous environment) leads to a large number of injuries. Between 23,000 to 45,000 sledding injuries require medical treatment each year in the United States. Head and abdominal injuries are the most frequent types of injury, usually resulting from collision with a fixed object or moving vehicle. In addition to the injuries, approximately 300 children die each year in the United States from a sledding accident.
External links and notes
sledding in German: Rodeln