Sledding is about the most fun that anyone of any age can have in the snow. A day on the hill can keep the entire family occupied. With so many types available, you can find the perfect sled for any snow condition, and any level of adventure.
Sounds like a ton of fun, right? Here are five ways you can make sure your day of sledding is even MORE fun...
1) Choose Your Sledding Options Wisely
- Snow sled tubes are lightweight and inexpensive inflatables. They will fly downhill in almost any snow condition once the first track is laid.
- Plastic and Foam sleds are fast. They are super light and offer very little resistance to any snow condition. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and price ranges.
- Hybrid sleds are relatively new developments in sledding that incorporate the concept of traditional runner sleds with composite materials for speed and steering capabilities. They work best on packed snow conditions.
Remember that what comes down, must go up. You will be pulling the sled up the hill for half the day, so think about its weight when you are considering which sled you want to try.
Before you grab your sled and run out the door in pajamas and socks, a little planning will go a long way toward a long day, when it comes to winter fun. The best sled day ever begins and ends with being warm and dry enough to enjoy it.
2) Dress For Success
Wearing the right clothes is your first line of defense against cold. Layers, layers, layers, but always a waterproof shell. Snow is water. It will get you wet. Waterproof boots are a must, wool socks are recommended. Gaiters are a great way to keep snow from getting up your pants or down your boots. Tuck, tape, tie, whatever you have to do, so snow doesn't creep in your crevasses. That goes for waist, neck, and wrist lines, too. Keep in mind that at some point in your day you will want to open your shell, whether to layer up or down, or other cause, so don't make your seals bullet-proof, just snow proof.
3) Drink to Success
Starting and staying hydrated is a must. Winter sports take a lot out of you. The cold often lets you forget that you are sweating. Those wonderful wicking layers just whisk the moisture away! Hypothermia sets in faster when you are dehydrated, so drink extra water before you go, and drink to keep you going through the day.
We always bring along our hot drink kit so we can chill out and warm up whenever the time is right. The hot drink kit is simply:
- A metal coffee pot
- A single burner backpacking stove (bring a lighter for the stove)
- A gallon jug of water
- A plastic jar of assorted instant coffee, tea, and hot chocolate
- Cups and spoons
- A metal base tray
- An insulated tote bag to carry it all, and keep your water from freezing
4) Keep it Cool in the Winter Sun- Safety Wherever You Go
Sunscreen is really important, especially in the winter. The sun's rays are reflected off the snow, so any part of you that is exposed should be screened. Sunglasses, or better yet, shaded snow goggles, are imperative. Snow blindness can cause long term or permanent damage to your eyes. Make sure you and your kiddos are well protected. Keep a first aid kit handy any time you are recreating outdoors, but in winter, it's a good idea to include chemical hand and foot warmers. They can be purchased individually or in bulk, and are inexpensive insurance against frostbite.
5) Be Prepared for More than Just Sledding
If the sled hill gets too busy or you just need a break from climbing back up, there are toys that make and launch snowballs and snow grenades. There are molds for making snow bricks and blocks. You can have a snowball fight, build a fort, or build ramps and other features on your slope. These toys are available where you find snow tubes for sale.
Think about bringing along camp chairs. A dry, warm place to sit and relax gives you a chance to regroup for the next round. Sitting on the snow lets you rest, but the cold will keep sapping your strength.
Your snow day should be a day you remember forever. With a little common sense and planning, it will be remembered for the screaming fast fun it was and not for its frostbitten fury.