A metal runner snow sled is a blast in areas that have snow and ice. But straight out of the store, they need to be prepared before they can be properly used.
Many hours I have spent sledding with my brother and my friends as I was growing up. In a place that had snow 9 months out of the year, we had to learn how to enjoy snow sports, or spend most of the time bored to tears. Luckily, sledding is just the ticket that provides enjoyment for young and older alike.
Snow sleds that have metal runners can be tugged through snow easily enough, but they are sold for their looks and because of that, the metal runners are usually painted. Paint is not the best surface for moving through the snow. Though it takes some effort, they can be converted to a great winter great fun device.
First, turn the sled upside down. Use course sandpaper to remove the paint from the part of the runners that are going to be connecting with the snow and ice. If possible, don't apply a lot of pressure as this can gouge the metal.
Next, sand the runners with medium sandpaper to remove any gouges that may have been created while removing the paint.
When this is done, use fine and ultra-fine sand paper to smooth the metal until it is slick. This takes the most time and effort, because you want the runners to be as smooth as possible. Nicks cause friction, which slows a sled down and makes it harder to pull. or push.
When the runners are very smooth to the touch, go over them with fine steel wool. This makes the surface even slicker and smoother. Finally, use fine ski wax on them, which both protects and makes them even slicker.
It takes about 10 hours of work, but the result is a sled that almost pushes itself through the snow. Okay, it doesn't push itself, but the effort to get it going, or to pull it, are so minimal that you might think that you are pulling nothing at all. Beware, though, because if you go over dry dirt or gravel, the process will need to be repeated to remove the deep gashes that will occur.
Properly done, good snow sleds are amazing fun. They can also be fast. Growing up, we had sleds that were clocked at 70 miles an hour, down a 6% downgrade over a 3-mile curvy road. The fun part is that they don't just stop; they keep going for a long ways. And when you get ready to make the trek back to the top, the sled isn't much of a weight since it slides so easily.
If you want to go sledding and have the maximum amount of fun, it is worthwhile to take the time to prepare the sled. Ten hours spent preparing it results in many hours of additional fun and less effort. Get that sled ready to go!