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Everything you need to go sledding this winter

What you need to go sledding this winter

The first thing you need is a snow-covered hill. The next thing is warm clothing and right after that, a sled. You won’t want just any sled, but a sled that is the right size for you, made of the right materials and in the design that suits you best. Some are round, many are rectangular and a few look like tricycles with runners instead of wheels.

What are sleds made of?

Most snow sleds are made primarily of foam or rigid plastic. Tube sleds are made of flexible plastic that is inflated just like a pool raft. High-tech sleds are made of aluminum, stainless steel and polycarbonates:

  • Foam sleds: These are simple and inexpensive sleds. The foam has a bit of flex to smooth out bumps and is usually sandwiched between two layers of hard plastic for greater durability. They’re light in weight for easy towing back uphill.
  • Rigid plastic sleds: These may be shaped like saucers, toboggans or snowboards. They are not only faster than foam sleds but more durable, too.
  • Inflatable sleds: They’re light and flexible upgrades of old tire tubes. Thin-skinned inflatables are easily torn, so unless you choose a heavy-duty inflatable, make sure you get a patching kit.
  • High-tech sleds: These use lightweight materials so riders can go fast and compete against each other.

Choose a safe spot

Avoid the most common injuries by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Choose an obstacle-free area marked and designated for sledding. If none is available, make sure any hill you or your kids are riding down is free from things like rocks and roots, both visible and buried underneath the snow. Also make sure the hill’s snow-covered area is wide enough that kids are not crashing into each other.
  • Make sure children are supervised. Sleds go downhill quicker on hard-packed snow, so kids will be tempted to slide downhill on paved driveways and roadways. Driveways are only okay if you have the owner’s permission, and only if the sledders’ momentum does not take them out into an active roadway.
  • Do not sled on streets: They’re too dangerous for sledding because they’re made for cars who may not see sledders in time to avoid hitting them.

Gear for staying warm and dry

Azarkis Kids Winter Snow Gloves

You choose from three sizes and 18 different colors of these windproof snow sports full-fingered gloves. The tether connects to the wrists so kids can’t lose them.

Shy Velvet Balaclava Fleece Ski Mask

This super-soft fleece is stretchable for a snug fit, breathable to prevent fogging, and quick-drying. You can use the cords to cover all or part of your face to protect yourself from the cold.

Rocky Thermal Underwear Long Johns

The top and bottom are made of a soft polyester blend that is fleece-lined without the bulk. The fibers are moisture-wicking and the seams are elastic for a stretchy and comfortable fit.

Supertrip Snow Ski Goggles

The mirrored dual-layer lens is scratch-resistant, anti-fogging and protects from the sun’s harmful rays. The adjustable strap is wide, elastic and comfortable.

Sleds for little kids

Pelican Baby Sled Deluxe

Bundle up the toddlers and put them in this high-backed seat with a safety belt and wide edges that help the sled stay upright. The sled weighs about 5 pounds, the removable cover is waterproof and wind-resistant, and the tow rope is extra-long for easy towing.

Flexible Flyer Toddler Boggan

This lightweight high-density plastic sled has an adjustable safety strap and high back and side rails for stability. You can tow kids weighing up to 40 pounds through snow up to 4 inches deep.

Sleds for kids and adults

Flexible Flyer Lightning Snow Sled 3-Pack

You get three hard plastic snow and sand sliders, each 4 feet long and capable of holding 200 pounds. They’re made for two kids or an adult with a child in their lap. The bottom is super-slick and grooved for straighter tracking.

Lucky Bums Kids Plastic Toboggan

This 3-foot-long hard plastic sled works from powdery snow to ice. The tow rope can be used to steer a little bit and when pulling it back uphill. The built-in handles are easy to grip when sledding.

Flexible Flyer Snow Screamer 2-Person Snow Sled

This nearly 4-foot-long foam sled has a laminated top and bottom made of crack-resistant hard plastic and holds 250 pounds. It has four rope handles so two can hang on while sledding downhill. In the summer, use it to sand slide.

Sleds for downhill racers

Gizmo Riders Stratos Steerable Bobsled for Kids

Budding Olympians like driving this steerable rigid plastic sled downhill alone or with a passenger. The clever design needs no tools because all the parts snap together and lock into place. It’s safe, too, because it has a spring-loaded pull-up brake.

Yukon Charlie’s Hammerhead Pro HD Steerable Snow Sled

The lightweight aluminum frame is powder-coated and the front polycarbonate skis are steered via a stainless steel leaf spring. This 51-inch-long sled weighs only 14 pounds and carries 230 pounds with ease.

Goplus Snow Racer Sled with Steering Wheel

This tricycle on skis is for the daring who need maneuverability. It has a sturdy iron frame, a front ski that turns with a steering wheel and a double foot brake. The seat is long and cushioned like the type found on snowmobiles.

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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