This is something that has likely never come out of my mouth before, but I have to say it.
Kicksledding is kickass!
We've written about things to do while we're grounded from travel. Check out 8 Travel Alternatives You Can Enjoy Right Now and What to Do When You Can’t Travel. But these posts are more about embracing the spirit of travel at home. They are about how to replicate many of travel's pleasures when you can't travel.
This post is different. It's about shaking things up at home. I've approached this many ways. I'm now learning piano and continuing to work on French. I have two volunteer jobs I didn't have before and now, I'm kicksledding.
I tried kicksledding first a couple of weeks ago on a sled borrowed from my sister. I absolutely loved it, so I got in touch with Kicksled Canada to get one of my own so I could go out any time and I could share the experience with you.
For, after all, it's never too late to learn something new.
Kicksledding Is a Sport for Every Age
Last year I took up skating.
I had skated as a child but I had never learned to turn well or even stop. In Ottawa, you can skate in a straight line on the Rideau Canal for 7 km. So, this was a new start for me. I wear a helmet. I'm very careful and always a little nervous, especially when stepping onto the rink. There is definitely a certain amount of danger for me in skating.
Kickledding, on the other hand, is not dangerous in the least.
It's like cross-country skiing without all the special gear. You just need a kicksled and away you go.
It's safer than cross-country skiing in a number of ways. You're not strapped onto two long boards that can be a problem on tight curves. You have the support of the handles for stability. And, if you should want a rest, you have a chair to sit on.
Essentially, it's like riding a scooter. You've never ridden a scooter? Neither have I. On snow, it's pretty easy.
Kicksledding is for people my age and older and it's for kids, too.
7 Reasons Kicksledding is the Better Winter Sport
There are so many benefits to kicksledding. Some I alluded to above, but here's my list in total.
- For every age. From kids to seniors, anyone of a reasonable fitness level can kicksled.
- Safe. If you have any concerns about cross-country skiing, this is for you. With the handlebars for stability and the ability to drag your boot to slow quickly and then jump off, you are in control all the time.
- Affordable. New ski equipment will run you a few hundred dollars more than a kicksled. Mine, which is a large, is CAN$349.00.
- Shareable. If your friend is within 6 inches in height of you, the sled will likely fit them, so you can share. You can't do that with other winter sports equipment.
- Adult toboggan. Find a gentle downhill slope and away you go. It gives all the fun of a toboggan without the bumps that pain an older tailbone.
- Have a seat. Want to take a break and enjoy the beauty of the day? Your chair awaits as it's built into your sled.
- Picnic onboard. That seat can carry your lunch. Just strap it onboard. No need for a backpack.
Learn Something New: Tips for Kicksledding
It's pretty straightforward. Put one foot on the runner foot pad and push off in a kicking motion with the other foot. That's how to kickslide. But there are a few more tips you should know.
- Put your weight on your supporting legs and not the handlebars. They are for stability, not for your weight.
- Change the supporting leg frequently. When you have nicely packed conditions, it's about five kicks then you put both feet on the runners and glide. When you begin kicking again, kick with the other leg.
- Use long kicks. Let your leg act a bit like a pendulum.
- To turn, turn the handlebars in the direction you want to go and lean in that direction. The sled doesn't have a steering system but it's very flexible and turns with the torque.
- To brake, drag your foot in the snow or dig your heel in.
- When you get too warm, put your mitts on the handles and hold onto them while holding the kicksled.
How to Kicksled: The Videos
To learn something new is one of life's great joys. Here are videos of my first times out. One going downhill and the other is kicksledding along a river after a snow. In them I have not yet achieved the best technique but you can see how easy it is. As for the sound effects. they are courtesy of my sister.
I thank Kicksled Canada for providing me with the kicksled. As always, the experience and views are completely my own.