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The History of Sledding

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0


Although "sledding," not to be confused with "sliding," has been around for a very long time, it wasn't until the 1870s that the winter activity began, as we know it today. The British needed something to keep them occupied while visiting St. Moritz and hence resorted to using delivery sleds for recreation. These sleds were flat-bottomed 'toboggans' named from the phrase "to bargain" resulting from the people of St. Moritz bargaining over the wood to build these contraptions. Of course, the pastime quickly resulted in competition and speed, which inevitably led to racing. Soon the Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton were invented. Then, in the 1880s, the first steerable runner sled was invented. The "Flexible Flyer" allows the rider to steer the vehicle such as to avoid trees, or other people and was believed to be essentially safer. Incidentally, approximately 30,000 children are injured sledding in the US each year.

Today, if you live where it snows, we have disks (or saucers), toboggans, tubes, and runner sleds for children of all ages.  All of these designs prove quite effective in providing fun and excitement while traveling downhill in the snow at a reasonably fast rate of speed. There are, however, a few basic instructions to be included in this winter past time.  Take note: The first ride is the most important. Flatter, greater surfaced sleds, as opposed to runners, are better at making the path, or 'run,' successful for the rest of the thrill seekers. Once this run is formed and followed, it gets packed and slippery. It is then the 'runner' sleds make their debut and are typically faster once the path gets used. Take note #2:  DO NOT walk back up the trail!  Bootprints are entirely not exceptable.  There are many techniques in sledding. Sitting, lying on your stomach, turning around, and "flopping" are popular techniques. Flopping is the technical term for running and jumping onto the sled to gain momentum and increase speed. Also, one in 25 injuries of sledding children results in hospitalization.

As this winter approaches, and the snow begins to fall, remember our friends from the 1800s who, out of boredom, discovered one of our most favorite winter past times of all... sledding!  Oh, and dress warm and be careful out there, Love Mom.



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  1. "Sledding." Sledding - Wikipedia. 26/11/2012 <Web >

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