How to Make Plastic Sleds Go Fast

Making a plastic sled go faster is all about technique and application of the right ingredients. Depending on the type of sled and hill, a good running start and spray-on or rub-on wax in a healthy combination makes all the difference.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray or block wax/hairspray/starch
  • Plastic Sled
  • Steep hill

Instructions

  1. Be Prepared

    • 1

      Apply a wax coating. Regardless of the type of plastic sled, a good coating of the right wax on the coasting surface will usually make it glide faster over the snow. It's all about minimizing friction and maximizing the gravitational pull of a downhill run in any type of plastic sled. Flimsy plastic sleds that could dent or tear on a bad run minimize weight but fail the durability test time and again. The best bet is a thick plastic sled or an inflatable snow tube with a good warranty. No matter what you use, applying a thin coat of wax will make it fly to the bottom faster.

    • 2

      Maintain the coating as well as you can, and bring your wax with you when you go sledding. Waxing a sled is design dependent. If you have a flimsy or inflatable sled, you need spray wax. The best spray for sleds is the stuff designed for snowboards and skis, which is meant to work well with water and snow. Spray and work a covered rag over the bottom of your vehicle, let it dry and buff it again. Repeat as needed. For a thicker plastic sled with a bit of weight, use block wax and rub the bottom of the sled repeatedly until it is fully coated. You can also finish it off with a mist of spray wax as well. If you don't have access to wax you can try bargain-basement hairspray or starch.

    • 3

      Practice your technique. Running and jumping into the sled is the final step to be mastered. To maximize the speed of your run, the launch makes all the difference. Lighter sleds can be held tight to the chest as you run, leap into the air and crash down. Heavier sleds must be positioned so they are just on the threshold of the arc downhill. You have to master jumping onto heavier sleds at a shallow angle. No matter what the vehicle, aerodynamics matter. Go head first and stay as low as possible to minimize your drag.

Tips & Warnings

  • Inflatable snow tubes, made by a reputable manufacturer with a good warranty, are the best bet for ease of use, speed and comfort. They're faster down the hill and much faster back up the hill, too. Look for a durable, weatherproof coasting surface with good handles that are attached securely. These snow tubes are the MVPs of plastic sledding.
  • Always choose a hill that allows a safe coasting distance at the bottom, and never sled on a hill that doesn't have at least 3 or 4 inches of snow on it. Going downhill head first is great for speed, but until you know how to fully control your sled you should try going down feet first and in a sitting position.
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  • Photo Credit Toddler on a sled image by DanielDupuis from Fotolia.com

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