Tobogganing – fun recreational sport in the snow

Tobogganing – fun recreational sport in the snow

Finally – so many enthusiastic winter sports enthusiasts – it’s that time again. With the heavy snowfall of the last few days and the drop in snowfall depths to below 500 meters, the slopes and meadows in southern Germany are covered with snow again.

Time to remove rust from the sleigh runners and mark the first freshly slopes into the snow or just hike with the equipment.

Sleigh in the temple district of Uruk

schlitten 1The sled is by no means a modern invention of the sports and leisure industry, as history has taught us. As early as Mesopotamia, there are depictions of sleighs in the temple area of Uruk from the period between 3500 and 3370 BC. BC, which indicate the use of sledges for threshing. The ancient Egyptians are also said to have used sleigh-like vehicles to transport building materials to their construction sites at the pyramids.

In terms of physical principle, the sleigh is a vehicle that is not necessarily only intended for use on the ground on snow. Usually equipped with two runners, the sleigh glides over a wide variety of surfaces to transport people or loads. The principle is: as little friction as possible. This can be the case on ice or snow as well as on damp meadows, fine sand or round river pebbles.

schlitten 07The modern recreational athlete knows very well how to use the height differences in the terrain in conjunction with gravity; he uses the sled in areas for leisure and sporting purposes.

Sometimes leisurely as part of a family outing, where the children relax on the sleigh and the parents take over the propulsion, sometimes more-sporty when taking advantage of heights that allow the sleigh to glide down the valley and sometimes uphill at high speed and with rapid curves - but last but not least the purely sporty sledges that thunder across the ice in prepared tracks, fighting for hundredths of a second.

Today, sports such as tobogganing and skeleton are even Olympic disciplines at the Winter Games, which take place every four years. The spectrum of “sleds” is broad.

The spectrum of “sleds” is broad.

Schlitten 4Logically, the most widespread are toboggans, which are available with different seat lengths to accommodate one or more passengers. Equipped with a backrest for small children, the toboggan is a popular piece of recreational sports equipment, whether sitting or lying down.

Wherever there is snow-covered areas, the first extensive cross-country ski trails are quickly emerging, which are used by children and young people alike. A recurring problem, however, is that the mountain or hill that you want to slide down later has to be climbed first. So, it's no wonder that people were also working on drives for sleighs.

For example, dogs were strapped to the sleds to drive them. This mode of operation, known by the Inuit, has also developed into a sporting competition between dog sled teams.

Expeditions of Scott and Roald Amundsen

schlitten 06Traditionally it was the means of transport on the ice and snow surfaces of Canada and Greenland, but also in the exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic on the expeditions of Scott and Roald Amundsen.

Nowadays, especially in regions with long-term snow conditions, there are a large number of motorized snowmobiles that are used for a variety of purposes. The somewhat more elegant way of driving the sleigh is horse-powered. In some winter sports-resorts there are well-prepared excursions with a sleigh team through the winter forest. In addition, there are now a variety of special sleds that also have special drives. Tubular sleds (so-called Akia) were developed that were powered by the wind, similar to paragliders. The Red Army used a very special vehicle, the Aerosani, a historic sled vehicle powered by a propeller.

In addition to the traditional wooden sledges, there are now a number of other types, some made of metal or plastic. Even steering options are almost commonplace these days. The first steerable sleigh dates back to 1870, when steerable sleighs were made available in St. Moritz for British hotel guests who wanted to pass the time by tobogganing.

schlitten 08No matter what type of tobogganing you personally prefer, it is a great leisure activity to enjoy a day of tobogganing with family or good friends. Find a hill off the beaten track of cross-country skiers or hikers, go tobogganing and enjoy time in the fresh air. A toboggan hike through snow-covered winter forests followed by a coffee break along the way is great leisure fun that can be accomplished with little effort and far away from tourist resorts.

We wish you a lot of fun in the wonderful winter world.

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Life | Outdoors