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The History of Sledding

Dec 31, 2012

Sledding (or tobogganing) is a beloved winter pastime for lots of people, especially if you live in a place that gets piles of snow during the dead of winter, but how much do you know about how sledding became so popular? Find out more in The History of Sledding!

Sleigh Me

The word sled comes from the Middle English word “sledde” (a very old type of English that is so different from what we use today, you would have trouble recognizing it) which meant “slider.” And that’s exactly what it does! We use sleds during the winter because they move easily through ice and snow, and even rock and some grass in certain instances. We may think of sleds as just for fun, but sleds actually come from sleighs and sledges, which were used as far back as the medieval era in Europe for transporting goods and people. You may have noticed that in most pictures of Santa, his reindeer pull him through the night sky in a sleigh, but traditional sleighs were used for transporting people and were often drawn by horses or dogs. European explorers used sledges and sleighs to navigate their way through the Arctic and Antarctic, and in some colder Scandinavian countries sleighs and sledges were not only fast, they were exempt from tolls on roads and bridges and so became popular for moving sizable goods. Chilly places like the Arctic still have huskies pulling sleighs as an option for getting through the snow quickly! Sleds are shorter and lighter than a traditional sleigh or sledge, people realized that sliding through the snow was so fun, that it might be worth giving everyone a shot, even if they didn’t need to get anywhere! That’s where the sleds we know today come in.

Different Types of Sleds

There are lots of different types of sleds: bobsleds, luges and skeletons are used for competitive sports, you’ve probably seen them before during the Winter Olympics. They are specially crafted to hold their riders and whip them through the snow as fast as possible.

When it comes to the kinds of sleds that people use just for having fun, there are lots of different options:

  • Toboggan – a long sled without runners, the old-fashioned kind are made from wood.
  • Saucers – a round, curved sled usually made out of metal or plastic
  • Flexible Flyer – a steerable wooden sled with thin runners.
  • Inflatable sled – lightweight sleds.

Did You Know...

Sleds may be a winter pastime for us, but they also work on sand and Ancient Egyptians used large sledges to help with construction, such as transporting large obelisks.

Have Your Say

Do you go sledding? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

2 Comments

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Sled_poll

Is sledding one of your fave winter pastimes?

  • yes
  • no

Random In The Forums

Pink_Cool_Girl
Yes. They actually are. 
reply about 2 hours
rainbowpoptart
"Pink_Cool_Girl" wrote:Anyways, I know girls are into cleaning and dolls, and you have a very good point there. But your also missing it.  I feel like I addressed everything.. Which part of your point am I missing?   "Pink_Cool_Girl" wrote:ANOTHER thing is the computer for boys and girls. One computer is $12.99. 50 functions. Blue and white. AKA for boys.    Girls: -White and pink -9 dollars -25 DAMN FUNCTIONS I suppose that does look a bit problematic. Are they the same brand?
reply about 3 hours
Pink_Cool_Girl
Oh Rainbowpoptart. Where were you. Anyways, I know girls are into cleaning and dolls, and you have a very good point there. But your also missing it. ANOTHER thing is the computer for boys and girls. One computer is $12.99. 50 functions. Blue and white. AKA for boys. Girls:-White and pink-9 dollars-25 DAMN FUNCTIONSProve anything to you yet? 
reply about 3 hours
Pink_Cool_Girl
"Powerslave" wrote:Generally boys are more into things that are more competitive, violent etc. and girls are generally into beauty, dolls and things of that nature. These toys reflect that idea.Yes, but new feminists are being born each day. See, I hate pink, beauty, and I cringe at the name "Shopping". I know others don't, but most do. Speaking of which, I was on ROBLOX today when someone said "Girls are noobs".  I was extremely offended by this. I know this got off topic, but still. Girls shouldn't be influenced by toys and gender roles. 
reply about 3 hours
rainbowpoptart
Companies create products targeted towards a specific audience.     Toys specifically targeted towards girls are pink and frilly or about professions mostly girls have aren't that way because it's sexist, they're that way because girls generally like the colour pink, pretending to cook (because cooking is really fun), and enjoy taking care of their stuffed animals or baby dolls as if they were actual living things. (These things also teach them skill sets that will be helpful to them in the future, such as how to raise a child if you have any and how to cook so you don't starve to death.)      Toys specifically targeted towards boys are blue or green and/or related to guns and cars and gross bugs/animals because that's what guys are generally into. (And I haven't heard of any science kits targeted specifically towards boys..? Every science kit advert I've seen has had both males and females in it, and I've seen a rather nice amount of them.) That's just the way we are. Nothing will change that. I don't think toys [and other things] should be specifically gendered. Anyone can do and play with anything. Just because it's targeted towards girls or because girls generally have this job more than boys do, doesn't mean a boy can't play with that toy or have that job and vice versa. A product being for this one gender shouldn't stop people of the other gender from buying it. This probably wasn't as coherent as I'd like for it to be, but today's science lesson completely fried my brain, and I don't think I can properly do anything except breathe for the next few hours.
reply about 3 hours