Extreme Sledding: A Brief Introduction to the Sport

Are you an adrenaline junkie in search of a new, extreme, winter sport? Why not give extreme sledding a try?

Sledding.
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Here's a bit more information:

Brief History of Extreme Sledding

Extreme sledding, or free sledding as it is also known, was created in northern Vermont by the Mad River Rocket Company. The first extreme sled hit the market in 1987. Although it quickly captured the imagination of kids and adults alike, it didn't catch on as fast with major retailers. That has since changed and several other extreme sled manufacturers started to appear.

Extreme Sleds for Freestyle Tricks

There are four major brands of extreme sleds that I know of. Each has its own distinct features and price point. The Mad River Rocket Company's sleds are meant to be used from a kneeling position. It is designed to reach high speeds and features quick release straps that keep you attached to the sled while you're doing kickflips and 360s. Prices range from $95 to $275 per sled. The Stiga Advanced FSR Snowracer has a higher center of gravity than the Mad River Rocket Company's extreme sleds and is also designed for executing freestyle tricks. It is made of metal and is meant to be used from a sitting position. You can typically pick one up for $90 or more.

Extreme Sleds for Slalom and Racing

The Hammerhead Sleds are meant to be ridden in a prone position and are designed more for taking sharp turns. Thus, it is more suited for downhill racing or slalom-like action. It does not feature a quick release strap ,and therefore it is not really suited for flip tricks. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $200 to $350 for one. The Airboard Sleds resemble a candy corn shaped air mattress and are also suited for slalom. There are no straps, and you can use them in a prone or sitting position. You'll also need to fork over at least $280 for one. Because it is an inflatable, I wouldn't recommend using it in ungroomed areas.

Where to Go Extreme Sledding

It can be hard to find places that allow extreme sledding. One place where it is embraced is in Warren, Vermont. Extreme sledding enthusiasts may book a Rocket-Shoeing Adventure through Clearwater Sports. It's a $55 per-person, three-hour excursion that involves the use of a closed road. Advance reservations are needed. Other resorts where it is permissible include Smugglers' Notch (VT), the Cataloochee Ski Area (NC), the Hoodoo Ski Area (OR) and Canaan Valley (WV).

My family enjoys winter sports and has traveled extensively.

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Updated Monday, Dec 19, 2011