Are you sick of winter? Then think back to when you were a kid. The most fun you ever had was shredding through the snow on your Flexible Flyer, right? Well, we have news for you. Sledding -- the national pastime of prepubescents everywhere -- is just as much fun for postpubescents. Face it: Your life is going downhill anyway, so you might as well enjoy the ride!
One of the cool things about not being a little kid anymore is you can afford to buy your own sled. These are our top five picks of the sleds and toboggans on the market today. These babies fly, so to give you a fighting chance of getting to the bottom of the hill in one piece, we also included a couple of pieces of safety equipment.
Flexible Flyer PT Blaster
That’s right: The brand of your youth is using adult technology to throw you off a cliff at breakneck speeds. (We said it was fun -- not necessarily safe.) With a three-ski snowmobile design, this sled shreds like no other. It comes with a spring-loaded break system and handlebar steering for improved control and handling. It’s 45 inches long, 18 inches high and 20 inches wide, so it can handle the big butt of an old Sasquatch like you.
Avalanche Snow Disc
For the sledding “fun”-damentalists. The old garbage can lid blueprint has been upgraded with lightweight plastic to reduce friction and increase speed. Not exactly NASA-level technology, but this baby takes off down a hill like a flying saucer. Admittedly, it doesn’t quite handle like the Space Shuttle Columbia. Once you’ve been launched, the piloting is out of your hands and you start spinning like Kim Kardashian’s press agent, heading any which way the Avalanche takes you. But you do it fast, and that’s the fun!
Mad River Rocket Killer B Sled
If sledding brings you to your knees, then this is the one for you. To ride it, you place your knees in the foam pads, buckle in your thighs and steer with your hands. (Not for the text-messaging nuts in the crowd.) The black shell, constructed from recycled plastic, is extremely sturdy and able to handle difficult terrain. Give yourself time to learn how to handle this mother so it doesn’t handle you.
American Traders Deluxe 8-foot Toboggan
This 8-foot-long retro rocket -- made of traditional thin wooden planks with thicker side slats for extra strength and speed -- brings back warm memories of youthful mass casualties. Weighing in at 28 pounds and measuring 18 inches wide, it meets U.S. National Toboggan Championship standards.
Airboard Softboard Inflatable Sled
This arrowhead-shaped inflatable raft has hard plastic ridges that help keep you from killing yourself while you break speed records in the snow. This is, without a doubt, the fastest ride on the ridge: It can hit 80 miles an hour! At that speed, you’d better make sure not to hit anything else. The good news is that the plastic runners provide good handling with a simple shift of your body weight. (You ride lying head-first like on an old Flexible Flyer.) Developed in the Swiss Alps, this snow raft inflates in less than three minutes with a hand pump and delivers the ride of a lifetime.
THE SAFETY GEAR:
Shred Ready Forty 4 Helmet
Every year, more than 20,000 sledders hit the emergency room after hitting the slopes. If you don’t want to join them, wear a helmet. This one uses in-mold expanded polystyrene (EPS), an energy-absorbing foam. It also has an easy-to-use one-handed buckle, along with a removable and washable liner and ear pads. Don’t abuse your head; use it and buy this hard hat.
Ice Bird Snow Goggles
You can’t sled if you can’t see, so keep the wind and snow out of your eyes with these double lenses with anti-fog coating. They’re anti-scratch and break-resistant with 12 layers of protective coating that provide both protection and better visibility. Plus, the comfortable form-fitting foam padding on the inside will keep your face from taking on a permanent raccoon outline -- a nice feature if any cute snow bunnies happen to be on the hill.