Snow Sledding Apparatus: A Survey

Winter, as you may have noticed, is in full frigid swing. Long ago, Duke Cannon chose not to hide from the sub-zero and the slush, but to instead embrace them like brothers (OK, perhaps stepbrothers is more accurate.). Nonetheless, we’re very much pro-winter fun, and high on that list of enjoyable activities is snow sledding. But which substrate to scooch down your local hill on? Duke Cannon has tried them all, and found that some sledding options are definitely better than others. Let’s take a look.


If you’re anything like us, you’ll always have some of these around, so simply inflate to your liking (remember: more PSI equals more speed), place your rear end into the middle, and hold on to your beer. Fast, bouncy, and shaped like a donut? Grade: A.


In a disposable world, the enduring metal saucer gets beaucoup points for being nearly indestructible. Spray the bottom of this with a non-chloric, silicone-based kitchen lubricant ala’ visionary hero Clark Griswold, and that land speed record could very well be yours. Highly recommended.


Duke Cannon is all for the classics, but be advised that the toboggan has its limitations. Sure, you can pack half a softball team on there, but it offers zilch as far as maneuverability, and in terms of speed, well—there is none. We like to zip down the hill, not amble slowly forward like an iron ore freighter stuck in a frozen bay. Although we have much respect for the toboggan’s history and family wagon-like demeanor, ultimately this is a no-go for us. 


Much like Boston’s second album, Flimsy Foam Things with Plastic Handles are truly hit and miss. On one hand, you can easily sandwich several of them into a car trunk, and they do fly down a hill. On the other hand, they don’t last very long, and most critically, offer precious little bodily protection, leaving you in a groaning heap after a hard landing. Pass.


Yes, they have a certain rustic charm. But technology has come a long way since some wayward settler first nailed one of these together to pull his supply of beaver pelts across a desolate terrain. Look elsewhere.


Anything you can do au naturel gets a thumbs up from us. After all, the purest pursuits require only your body and soul—and enough snow to safely cover up tree roots and partially buried boulders. Certainly not for the faint of heart, but for everyone else, get a good running start and get ready to experience what freedom tastes like. 


Have you recently purchased a new flat-screen television, kitchen appliance, golf simulator, or combo grill/smoker? Have the neighbors? If so, friends, you might have at your fingertips the means to boogie down the nearest snow-shellacked hill in, if not style, certainly memorable thrifty charm. It turns out that one man’s recyclables are another man’s recreational vehicles. 


And you thought that old inflatable air mattress with a slow leak was reserved solely for visits from your brother-in-law. Not anymore. The air mattress is the comfy Cadillac of sleds, as long as steering isn’t high on your list of priorities.