John Brownlee here, yet again breaking the fourth wall and slipping out of the Consumerist’s royal ‘we.’ When I was growing up, I lived on a precipitous street — in Massachusetts’ cruel winters, a shimmering slope of ice terminating in the child-chewing combine of the motorway that bisected my hometown. When it snowed, the plows would often times just stop at the bottom of the hill; then, the drivers leaning out of their cabs, they would scratch their heads, eventually trying an ascent that always ended fifty feet up with their vehicles wildly spinning out of control, back down into incoming highway traffic. Needless to say, it was the best street ever to live on if you loved to sled, and I have many fond memories of kicking off from the top of the hill on my hand-me-down Flexible Flyer, shooting down in a fire storm of steam and molten metal shards like a bullet sliding through a well-oiled gun barrrel, then launching through and across the highway at a thousand miles an hour, leaving a killing fields of jack-knifed semis and exploding car wrecks in my wake. It was awesome.
So I love this round-up of sled reviews over at Slate by Ulrich Boser:
Imagining a Rocky Balboa-like comeback, I jumped at a chance to test out the latest in sledding technology. When I was a kid, sleds looked pretty much the same as they had in the Middle Ages: a small platform on top of two runners. Today the market is flooded with various makes and models, from simple, plastic saucers to high-end, snowmobilelike sleds complete with steering wheels and brakes. One, called the Airboard, promises Porsche-like handling. It also comes with a Porsche-like price tag: nearly $300.
To determine which sled was most worthy of dubbing Rosebud, I performed a variety of tests. But before I detail the methodology and results, I should note that some sleds work best in certain types of snow. For instance, the 1950s-era, wood and metal Flexible Flyer will speed on icy, hard-packed snow but tends to get stuck in deep, fluffy powder. I only tested sleds that promised to work in all conditions.
Winter’s almost over, so if you’re going to spend $300 on a sled before loathed spring is here, this would be an excellent consumer’s resource. That new Flexible Flyer sucks though — the advantage of the old model was that, with its metal skates, it would also double as an acceptable weapon in a post-apocalyptic zombie holocaust.