Author: John Sheesley
Itâ€™s that time of year again; the falling leaves will soon give way to falling snow and frigid weather. With bike trails covered in snow and the nearest ski area hours away, those with a lust for speed will have to turn to the old sledding hill. Cheap, plastic sleds are slow and boring, and the speedy runner sleds can cost more than a college student can spare. Itâ€™s time to get out that screwdriver and head to the thrift shop to get supplies for your very own do-it-yourself sled.
Keep in mind the fact that snow is slippery. A sled that is equally slippery is going to go fast. The sled design outlined below will go very fast on a mildly steep hill. So wear a helmet, and maybe some old football pads or other protective padding. Be careful; with great speed comes a great risk, and sleds donâ€™t have brakes. These instructions will require some knowledge of power tools, but nothing too difficult. If you haven’t got any tools head to the Hammer Time! shop on east Laurel and check out their tool co-op. They have lots of tools that can be used for a suggested donation, and theyâ€™re happy to help you use them.
Mostly anything will work as a sled. An old mattress can hold a few people and slides pretty well. Trash can lids, cookie sheets, car hoods; anything hard and slick can work. Here, we go big or go home, so at the thrift shop take a look around for a pair of old skis. They can be beat up, ugly relics from the ’80s as long as theyâ€™ve still got some wax on the bottoms. Try to find a cheap, plastic sled as well, or something similarly shaped, and an old pillow. Stop by the hardware store on the way home and get some scrap wood and four nuts, four washers and four bolts. Be sure to get the nuts with the smooth round heads, as they will slide easier.
Now to put everything together:
- Place the sled between the skis and the wood as shown below.
- Drill two holes the same size as your bolts through each ski and up through the sled and wood.
- Bolt it all together as shown, making sure the nuts are nice and tight.
- Put the pillow on top of the sled, covering the bolts.
- You may want to affix a rope to the sled so you have something to hang on too. Just drill a couple of holes in the front of the sled and tie the rope to them.
Now it’s time to try out the new sled! Sit on the pillow and go for a speedy ride down a nice snowy hill.