Boulder, CO, Nov. 28, 2001--Ever known someone you'd like to bring to a ski mountain, but you're not sure they would have a good time. Hey, the mountains are beautiful in the wintertime--who wouldn't want to see them? Higher elevations are generally cold and who doesn't need a good nasal freeze to appreciate Jack Frost's handiwork? And if you haven't noticed, in the winter the mountains are covered in this frozen water stuff known the world over as nieve, sneeuw, Schnee, or neige depending on where in the world you are. The simple equation I grew up contemplating, snow = fun, endures as an international constant.
Sliding down snow has never been a problem. Due to its frictional coefficient, you barely even need a slope to slip, slide, or fall down on the stuff. Maybe that, the "fall-down factor," or rather the fear of looking like an Alabaman on ice, is what keeps many away from our nation's ski resorts.
But what about sledding? No coordination needed. You are only a couple inches off the ground so falling can hardly hurt. You definitely do not need practice to let gravity do its 32-feet/sec/sec gig and pull you to the bottom of the slope.
"Yes, I like sledding in my backyard or on the local sled-designated hill, but it gets boring." That's fine, you enjoy crusty, tracked-out local hangouts and I'll hit the big mountains for some big time sledding!
"You mean tubing?" No, not tubing. Gravity Sledding--the new school of mountain adventure and sledding.
The Gravity Sled is basically an automotive-grade, cushioned bucket seat mounted on a durable and lightweight suspension deck, which is mounted on four skis. A pivotable front axle affects steering and speed is controlled by turning and by a foot pedal that drops a claw-style brake into the snow. It's fast, maneuverable, and put a smile on my face instantly.
So where do you get to try one? After Dec. 15 or in between Olympic festivities, head to Park City Mountain Resort, UT. They'll have a fleet of Gravity Sleds waiting to shoot you Formula-1 style down the slopes. And the Adventure Ridge program at Vail Resort, CO is next to jump on the sled, as they plan to integrate Gravity Sleds into the existing Thrill Sled program this winter.
For an individual, the cost of the Gravity Sled is a little prohibitive, coming in at just under $1600. However, look for Gravity Toys, maker of the Sled, to come out with a lighter-weight version for individual consumption in the future.
For more on the Gravity Sled and its dry land counterpart, the Gravity Cart, check out www.gravitycart.com.