Kicksledding Information


Insider Info

dotKicksledding enthusiasts are bringing an old method of transportation into widespread use today. It's a form of recreation that's accessible to almost everyone.

Scandinavian residents have used kicksleds for traveling and for transporting goods since the 1850s. Today, it's become a popular sport. At the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, kicksledding was a demonstration sport. That sparked an interest in the recreation in other countries.

"Judging by the feedback that I get from our customers,...I should say that [kicksledding] has a bright future in North America," says Knut Brundtland. He is a kicksledder and owner of a company that manufactures the sleds.

dotThe kicksled is easy to use. It's similar to a scooter. A kicksled is "kicked" like an old-fashioned scooter across the snow.

The operator stands on the frame and steers with handlebars. One foot is placed on the runner and the other is kept on the ground. Hanging on to the handlebars, the operator kicks into the snow to propel forward. To steer, a kicksledder simply twists the handlebars in the direction they want to go.

A seat on the front of the kicksled can hold a passenger or cargo. Or it can be used as a resting spot. Each sled has two steel ski-like runners, with plastic skis for added buoyancy in loosely packed snow.

dotThe kicksled provides a fast, easy and fun way to travel across snow and ice. The sleds come in a variety of sizes for men, women and children.

dotAfter experiencing outdoor fun, portable kicksleds are easy to pack. Most kicksleds are lightweight (about 18 pounds) and can be folded down flat for simple storage.

dotKicksledding provides an excellent cardiovascular workout at your own pace. It's a low-impact sport that minimizes the risk of injuries to bones and joints.

"Users of a kicksled get the same good exercise that one can get from cross-country skiing," says Linda Lind. She is a kicksledder. She also co-owns a kicksledding manufacturing company in Houston, Minnesota.

"It's a kick and glide motion that is easy on the knees and joints, but more stable because you have the handlebar of the sled to hang on to. A person can get a good workout if they choose to do so, or they can take a leisurely glide through the snow."

dotThe seat makes the kicksled a useful item. The seat can carry a child, groceries, mail, wood, fishing supplies and a wide variety of other goods.

dotThere are no special facilities required for kicksledding. Kicksleds are best used on terrain one would typically use for cross-country skiing, hiking and snowmobiling. They're also good on frozen lakes and rivers.

Kicksleds don't work in deep snow -- they sink. Don't take a kicksled on downhill slopes.

dotNo particular injuries have been linked to kicksledding.

"As with all outdoor sports, one has to exercise common sense and gauge the activity to fit the physical environment and the individual's aptitude," says Brundtland.

dotWith its versatility and simplicity, kicksledding is a perfect sport for everyone.

"People of any age can use a kicksled," Lind says. "We've had grandparents who have purchased them for the grandchildren to use when they come to visit, but then they need to order more because they're having too much fun themselves. [My husband] teaches special education and has used them with his handicapped students. Again, they're a very stable way for anyone to get exercise while being able to glide through the snow."

dotThere are lots of ways for people to take advantage of kicksledding, according to Brundtland:

  • Children have fun with it. Young families can put their young kids on the seat.
  • Ice fishers can strap their gear on a kicksled and have a built-in seat from which they can do their fishing.
  • Dog owners can use the kicksled as a dog sled to exercise their canines in the winter months and have fun themselves. It is light enough for one medium to large dog to handle.
  • Seniors gain increased freedom of movement in the winter. The kicksled can be used like a walker.
  • People with disabilities have the chance to get out and enjoy the winter because a kicksled gives them a solid platform and something stable to hold on to.
  • Competitive athletes have a method of keeping in shape while recovering from injuries because kicksledding is low impact and easy on the joints.

Getting Started

dotAnother advantage to kicksledding is that it's an inexpensive sport. Costs for a kicksled vary from about $140 to $185.

No special instruction programs or clothing items are needed for kicksledding. "It is easy to do," says Brundtland. "Most people can do it and you pick it up in a couple of minutes. No special clothing or boots are required, just sensible winter outfits."

dotCareers in the kicksled industry can involve sales for the equipment.

"We have a company dedicated to promoting the sport," says Brundtland. "We are looking for people with initiative to be agents. Little capital is needed, because we keep inventory and we ship direct. It is promotional acumen and salesmanship we are looking for. At this stage, we only have a few agents, so the opportunities are wide open."

Links

CrosSled North America
A company that makes kicksleds

Scandia Kicksled
This site includes pictures

Kicksled World Championship
Check out the rules section

Kicksled Primer
This site offers more information on kicksledding