The best thing about a big snowfall is taking your toboggan to the top of the nearest hill and zooming all the way to the bottom. Maybe not as fast as Guy Martin, who in 2014, zipped down a mountainside in Europe clocking in at a mind-blowing speed of 134 kph, but fast enough! “Toboggan” is from the Mi'kmaq word “tobakun,” which means sled. In fact, the Inuit made the first toboggans out of whale bone and used it to transport people and belongings across the snowy tundra.
Slip-slide your way through these fascinating tobogganing facts before you hit the slopes!
In the late 1800s, tobogganing was a pastime for adults. People even got dressed up for their trip down the hill. Men wore top hats and women dressed in their best clothes.
The longest toboggan run in the world is found in Grindelwald, Switzerland. It takes a 25-minute gondola ride and 2-hour hike to reach the start of the run. Then it’s all downhill from there. The toboggan run is 15 km long and takes about one hour to complete!
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Three Olympic sports were developed from tobogganing: bobsledding, luging, and skeleton racing.
At an annual sporting event in New Mexico, people don’t bother with a toboggan. Instead, they sit on metal shovels to race downs slopes.
When penguins slide over snow and ice on their stomachs, it’s called tobogganing.
Toboggans can also be used on sand. People use special sleds to toboggan down sand dunes in places like Australia, Egypt, and South America. Even the Ancient Egyptians used large sleds to help transport objects across the desert.
Tourists can ride a wheeled toboggan down the side of a mountain to get off the Great Wall of China. Riders hop aboard the toboggan and travel from the Wall to the valley below on a metal winding track. The trip takes about three minutes.