You don’t hit the links with one club in your bag, so why make your kids hit the sledding hill with just one snow sled? These snow whips provide for all manner of riding styles and prepare kids of all ages (read: kids who can’t steer and adults who can’t stop) for all different winter conditions.
The problem with cheaper, off-the-rack sleds is two-fold: punishing vibration and a tendency to turn over. That’s not the case with these sliders. These sleds, sleighs, saucers, tubes, and toboggans all made our best-of list for one reason ⏤ they ride fast and smooth. And they only have one downside: you still have to bring them back up the hill with your kids in them.
STIGA Snowracer FSR GT
Many snow sleds can race down a hill, but only one can call itself a ‘snowracer.’ Literally, STIGA owns the trademark. Your kid will look X Games-ready atop this bad boy, and they’ll also likely learn a valuable lesson: just because you’re gripping a steering wheel doesn’t mean you’re going to avoid that tree. Better invest in a good helmet as well.
Flexible Flyer Steel Runner Sled
This Flexible Flyer is a modern birchwood version of the classic steel runner that’s been bombing down American hills since 1889. It’s 60 inches long, so it can hold two adults plus a kid on your lap (up to 250 pounds total), and riders steer using either their hands, feet, or a rope (sold separately) attached to the bar.
Gizmo Riders Skidrifter Snow Sled
The futuristic Skydrifter is built in the Czech Republic and billed as a combination “skibob, ski sled, and sleigh.” The aerodynamic shell is steered using your body, it can accommodate adults (up to 264 pounds) and kids (starting at age seven), and there are three height/skill level adjustments from beginner to professional. It also comes in five colors.
Snow Slider Toboggan
This steel-framed slider features a single-front-ski design for sharp turns, and it includes a textured-grip handlebar to keep riders “in control while reducing the tension and fatigue.” The ergonomic mesh seat holds up to 220 pounds, and it’s recommended for teens and up.
GoFloats Unicorn Snow Tube
Considering the popularity of giant unicorn pool floats this summer, it should come as no surprise that you can now buy a unicorn snow tube as well. This one’s made of raft-grade material, measures 45-inches across, and includes a rapid-inflate valve so you can get to the hill in no time.
Bradley Magic Carpet Flexible Snow Sled Flyer Kids Sledding Toboggan
The easiest sled to pack, the Magic Carpet is made from 600-denier waterproof canvas on top, with 1000-denier coated, slippery bottom. It’s best for groomed and smooth slopes, as the sled doesn’t offer a lot of shock absorption. But it’s easy to carry back up the hill even for little kids. Recommended for riders up to 90 pounds.
Flexible Flyer Baby Sleigh
Tow your tot around town and around your local Nordic network in Flexible Flyer’s Baby Sleigh. Made for kids 1- to 4-years-old, this classic wood-body sleigh has wooden runners and a steam-bent backrest to keep small kids onboard and upright.
L.L. Bean Sonic Slider
The butt sled-style Sonic Slider is about as simple as you get. The 24-inch plastic sled has a minimally molded plastic seat and handle with a little bit of shock absorbing anti-slip foam on top. Ridges in the underside help the sled track, and by tugging on the handle, the rider can control direction. Designed for ages 4-and-up, it’s light, compact, and one of the most affordable snow sleds on the market. For $40, you get a two pack, so your kiddo never has to go sledding alone.
Molson Runner Alpine Classic Sled
Molson’s Classic combines the timeless wooden styling of a traditional flyer with aerospace-grade aluminum runners to carve up all types of snow. One-inch diameter side tubes are the perfect size for little hands to grip tight when the run starts getting real, or mounting a GoPro to capture their reaction in the same scenario. The definition of an “heirloom sled:” you won’t hand it down to your kid until you’re done bombing hills yourself.
Fortunately (or not, if you’re hoping your kid will take up an interest in life-endangering Olympic sports), Zipfy isn’t technically a luge — it’s operated from a seated position. It also has googly eye decals, which most Olympic sleds sadly lack. Still, it’s luge-esque enough; it’s steered using body weight and you can make it stop with your feet. That actually makes it sound more Flintstone-esque. Whatever, watch those kiddos fly!
Bradley Snow Tube
The Humvee of the hill, this snow tube was originally designed for commercial use, meaning you can jump on with confidence that it can handle all manner of tube-tearing ground effects and your own post-post-adolescent, dadbod physique. That’s key, because the inner circle is a touch large for small kids but perfect for father-kid tandem descents.
TSL Toddler Sled
For those who want to get their kids pointed downhill at the earliest possible age, the TSL’s 3-point harness ensures that little people can get bounced around a sled without getting bounced out of it. Fair warning: this (relative) safety measure has not been proven to calm furious mothers. For that, you’re on your own.
Paricon Flying Saucer
Everyone loves the freewheeling anarchy of trashcan lid-style sledding, and for $10 the only excuse to not pick up one of these would be because you’re cheap. For $30 bucks, the only excuse to not pick up the 3-pack would be because you’re cheap and foolish enough to believe your kid doesn’t have the same magnetic attraction to rocks and trees as every other critter on the sled hill.
Railz Snow Scooter
Straight up, this thing looks like it has zero handling capability whatsoever — and therein lies its genius. Kids live to fling their bodies through the snow with reckless abandon, and their love for you immediately increases proportionally to the dangerousness of any gift you give them. They’ll also appreciate the fact that you can’t steal one of their toys for once; the collapsible aluminum frame only supports riders 140 pounds or lighter.
Toysland Snow Scooter
A Razor scooter for snow sliding, Toyland’s Snow Scooter lets your kid kick around the driveway or yard, and slide down snowy slopes. A handle allows your child steer the scooter and folds down for easy storage and transport. And, when there’s no snow, you don’t have to store it until next winter. The scooter slides on sand, grass, and even carpet, making it a year-round toy. It’s rated for kids 4-and-older and up to 220 pounds.
Emsco Heavy Duty Beast Expedition Sled
This $90 snow sled does triple duty. It holds plenty of gear for your next family hut trip or trek to a snowy cabin. It lets you haul your kids and their friends — up to four little ones at a time. And it’s a nearly indestructible downhill sliding machine for kids of all ages. If you do want to use it for skiing or snowshoeing a heavy load, consider upgrading it with PVC poles to replace the rope.
Flexible Flyer Aurora
This bright and fast-looking laminated foam snow sled has a slick bottom well suited to high-speed, on-the-belly descents, with sturdy handles for holding on and steering. Even though the foam is light, a tough skin makes it durable and will keep it in the quiver for many winters to come. For sledders five and older.
Mad River Rocket Stinger Deluxe
The Formula One car of snow sleds, this kid’s version of Mad River Rocket’s acclaimed Killer B lets your junior sledder surf, slide, and even huck. It’s more controllable and maneuverable than any toy-store sled. The rider descends by kneeling, leaning to steer, and using their hands for stabilization. Plush foam kneepads soften landings, and a knee strap keeps the rider on board. The kid’s version has all the bells and whistles of the adult model but with a smaller shell that’s easier to control if you’re under five feet tall.
The worst part of sledding is lugging your ride back up the hill. It can be, quite literally, a drag. Sled Legs are a clever invention that eliminates that issue. Strap the hard plastic shells lined with impact foam strap to your shins. They’ll stay out of the way on your walk up the hill and provide a smooth ride on the way down.
Kettler Snow Flyer Sled
The best way to control most sleds is by leaning to the left or right and, if you want to slow down, sticking a hand or foot into the snow to create some drag. This model is more refined, with a steering wheel and metal brakes for kids who want more control. It’s made in Germany out of a fade-resistant resin, and it comes complete with a tow rope, footrests, and handles.
Wham-O Fantom X Snowboogie
The delightfully named Snowboogie is a combination sled/luge that fits two riders sitting and one lying down. It comes with large padded handles that make it easy for mittened hands to grip and steer the metal alloy frame down the hill. The seat is made of nylon mesh that’s both lightweight, for faster rides, and comfortable enough to ride on for extended sledding sessions.