Winter Adventure Guide: Choosing a sled
Trying to pick the sled that's right for you? They now come in all shapes and sizes. Here's a rundown of the tried, true and new.
In short: This quintessential downhill device works as well today as it did for Norman Rockwell.
Pros: Distance. Nothing achieves longer distance than these sleek metal rails, and the flexible front end easily steers around rough spots.
Cons: Metal edges. Hitting someone with the grill is a lot like bashing someone's legs with a Buick.
Verdict: The perfect choice on an empty hill.
In short: Before crazy inventions glutted the sled market, this was how you bested peers on trash-can lids and cafeteria trays.
Pros: Cost. Besides a trash bag, a dish is likely your cheapest option. They're also quite quick.
Cons: Comfort. All that protects your behind from cold and sharp objects is a quarter-inch of polyurethane.
Verdict: Grease the bottom and go wild.
In short: A time-honored method of farmers, construction workers and ditch-diggers across the world.
Pros: Availability. If you're shoveling snow near a decline, simply turn the tool around with the handle forward, sit down and hold on.
Cons: Smashing face. If you're not careful, a moderate downhill run will end with a wooden handle to the nose.
Verdict: Good in a pinch.
In short: What supported you in a pool last summer can become your best friend on the slopes.
Pros: Comfort. Rocks, ice chunks and debris won't bruise your butt when you're riding on a delightful cushion of air.
Cons: Fragility. Cold weather means constant re-inflation, and even good ones pop after strenuous use.
Verdict: The ideal choice for first runs through powder.
Zipfy Freestyle Mini Luge
In short: Used in European downhill competitions, this crazy thing's now available for $40 at zipfy.com.
Pros: Speed, durability. Its light weight is good for hill-climbing, and it glides far. Kids who demo'd mine called it "totally beast!"
Cons: Unfortunate shape. You steer by firmly gripping a giant phallus.
Verdict: You'll have a blast, but you might get a few stares.