The prospect of snow has youngsters across the midstate eagerly watching the skies, ready to spot the first flakes that could cancel school and launch a playdate with the cold outdoors. What better way to spend part of your snow day than sledding!
Sleds are not often seen in local stores, but where even a hint of flurries is in the forecast everyone from Walmart to Rural King suddenly uncovers a stash of sleds for every rider.
Saucer sleds are popular and cheap. When I was a kid we had ice coal aluminum saucers; today’s saucers are usually plastic and available for a as little as $3-4 wherever you go to buy snow melt. There’s nothing like taking a running start, throwing yourself into the saucer and speeding downhill. The more the saucer spins, the dizzier you get, but that’s the fun of it.
One can also find a plethora of tot-sized toboggans, both wood and plastic. These small toboggans can hold one or two kids and plastic flies over packed snow.
For the adults among us, an old-fashioned wooden toboggan — complete with padding — is a great way to get four or five people at a time on a race to the bottom of the hill. Large toboggans come in many lengths and are much more pricey, but for die hard snow enthusiasts the price is worth it, especially if have more than one snowfall a year.
The fallback position is, of course, a traditional runner sled. An assembly of boards mounted on twin runners (rails) is steered by using one’s hands or feet on a crosspiece. It all depends on whether you ride head or feet first. You can steer into curves, and more importantly, around any trees that might be in your way.
Toboggans are my favorite, but my heart has a soft spot for those old runner sleds. The last one I owned was doctored up with a cardboard box tied to it. a fluffy blanket was placed inside, and my infant daughter on top of and then wrapped in the overlapping blanket. I would grab the rope, and pull it over the snow to the market, or drug store, or to my own mother’s house.
So as the weather prepares to give us a dose of winter, took a look at what sleds your local store has. in stock. They’ll be right up front with the shovels and snowmelt.
Don’t forget the hot chocolate for when the sledding is through.