As we approach the winter months, one of the things which makes the cold weather more fun is sledding.
The ability to jump on a sled and glide down a hill is something that people who live in warmer climates are often quite jealous about.
Sledding is a great experience, and there are many ways to sled.
However, you do need to make sure you have enough snow.
Knowing the proper conditions for sledding is a major part of whether or not your experience will be a good one.
Here are the things you need to consider before you head out with your sled.
How Much Snow Is Needed to Go Sledding?
You will need about three inches of snow to go sledding.
Three inches is a good amount for thick, wet, or fluffy snow.
With fluffy snow, it is best to have even more than three inches.
If you don’t pack the snow down really well on your first few runs, you may start seeing some grass underneath.
With wet or thick snow, you may only need about two inches of snow, depending on the consistency.
This is great news considering it doesn’t take long for this much snow to accumulate.
Let’s take a look at some different types of sleds and how they work best in each type of snow.
What Sled Is Best for Fluffy Snow?
When you are sledding in light, fluffy snow, you will have to work to create a track for your sled.
With packed snow, one quick run down a hill can create a perfect lane for sledders to enjoy all day long.
However, with fluffy snow, there is a bit more work involved.
Essentially, you are going to have to pack the snow down with the sled a few times before it is going to be a fast and fun ride.
The best type of sled for fluffy snow is going to be the inflatable type of sled.
These are really like tubes that will use the water from the snow and the slick conditions to propel someone down a hill.
With the right dusting of light snow, you won’t need much at all to use an inflatable tube.
The inflatable sleds will also work in more packed snow, but if they come across any rough edges, they tend to pop.
When the sled pops, it becomes useless, so you will want to be careful where you use this sled.
If you have a good amount of accumulation, you can also use a saucer style of sled on the light snow.
Again, you will have to pack in a bit of extra work to create your sledding lanes, but it will likely be well worth it.
What Is the Best Sled for Wet Snow?
Wet snow or packed snow is traditionally a bit better for sledding.
This is the type of snow on which you can use a variety of sleds, and it usually provides for some faster speeds than other types of snow.
Wet snow tends to have a bit more of an icy feel than lighter snow, and you can really build a sled route which could last for a couple of days.
If the packed or wet snow gets a small layer of ice on it, this can work really well for something like a traditional toboggan or flexible flyer type sled.
These sleds are going to sink down into lightweight snow, and you won’t be able to travel down a hill.
However, if there is thick, wet snow and it is well packed, you should have no issues using the more traditional sleds.
The saucer type sleds are also great for the wet snow.
You can spin them and control the speed and even move back and forth to try and gain some extra inertia as you head down the hill.
The good thing about saucer sleds is that they don’t have any sharp edges.
If a kid is flying down a hill on one of these, the injury potential is usually a bit lower than a sled with a metal track along the bottom.
Safety when sledding is very important.
Tips for Sledding Safely
As much fun as sledding can be, it can also be equally as dangerous.
If you are heading out for a day of sledding, there are some safety factors you should keep in mind.
1. Where Does the Hill End?
When you start building your sledding ramps, make sure you pay attention to where the hill ends.
The last thing you want is to have your track come out near a parking lot or a road.
Although you think a sledder might stop at the bottom of the hill, chances are they will go quite a bit further.
Always look for a safe landing spot and then pick your routes from that point.
2. Establish Some Order
If you are sledding in an area where there are hundreds of kids, somebody will likely have to establish some order.
Although this can be difficult, it truly is necessary to make sure people do not get hurt.
Establishing order is essential because kids will just continue to go down the hill, even when there is a pileup of other kids at the bottom.
Ensure that it is clearly defined how you should climb up the hill and where you should proceed after you have come to the bottom of the sledding hill.
3. Check the Ground
It is essential to have a general idea of where you are sledding before you start flying down the hill.
If you are in a wooded location, make sure you have a lot of snow.
If the snow is not that deep, you could end up hitting a log or a branch and can get injured easily.
Try to sled in grassy areas where the area underneath the snow is soft ground.
If you are sledding in your yard, it is essential to make sure you have a decent amount of snow accumulation.
If you don’t, you may end up damaging your turf for the upcoming spring.
4. Stay Away from Ice
Although ice may seem like it will make sledding faster and more fun, it is really not necessary.
Snow is going to give a really good thrill without being incredibly dangerous.
When you sled on ice, not only do the speeds get faster, but you can get injured much worse as well.
Falling off a sled into the fluffy snow will not be painful.
When you fall off a sled into the ice, you will get scratched and potentially cut as well.
Although you may think that ice cannot give you that bad of a cut, it truly can.
Overall, sledding is quite dangerous, and you should pay attention to these hazards before you head out for a day of great sledding.
What Is the Best Temperature for Sledding?
When you choose a temperature for sledding, it is about comfort and snow conditions.
It is best if the temperature is just below 30 degrees if you are heading out to sled.
The freezing conditions are going to help maintain the condition of the snow.
As people are using the snow and walking on it, you will notice some potential melting.
If the temperature is high enough that snow will melt on its own, you may get into a real messy situation.
The melting snow will essentially create slush all over the sledding trail.
The slush is slow, and it makes clothes a mess in no time.
Slush will also sometimes come with mud if there is not much snow on the ground.
If you got a big snowstorm and it is 40 degrees the next day, be prepared for a bit of a mess if you try to go sledding.
You have to live in just the right area to have perfect sledding conditions all winter.
Sledding is fun and entertaining, but it can also be a bit dangerous.
Make sure that you have picked a perfect time to head out on the sled and have prepared yourself for the conditions.
Remember, you may need several changes of clothes as your clothes get covered in snow and become wet.
Getting at least one good sledding session in each year makes that winter shoveling all that much more worth it.
Take a break from the winter work and head out for some fun.