Now or Never

Kicking off the kicksledding revolution in Fort Liard, N.W.T.

Brad Carrier is the school principal in the tiny community of Fort Liard, N.W.T. Recently, Carrier was trying to think of a mode of transportation to replace the bicycle in the wintertime. Then he happened to hear about kicksleds on an episode of Now or Never.

Want to winterize your commute? Try kicksledding!

7 years ago
Duration 0:48
"I get lots of looks," says kicksledder Jocylyn McDowell.

Brad Carrier is principal of Echo Dene School in the tiny community of Fort Liard, N.W.T. This past November while driving home, Carrier was thinking about bicycles.

"In Fort Liard ... there's a lot of bicycles in the summer, and so in the wintertime we were missing that," he said. "I was just thinking how much of a good thing it would be to have something in the wintertime to replace the bicycle."

That's when he heard Anne Middler of Whitehorse, YT speaking on CBC's Now or Never about kicksleds.

Kicksleds are similar to mushing sleds, only smaller. There are two parallel skis with a seat at the front and a handlebar on top. To ride a kicksled, you stand behind the seat and hold the handlebar. Then you place one foot on one ski, and push yourself along with the other foot. Once you get moving both feet can stand on the skis, and off you go. 

Students at Echo Dene School in Fort Liard, N.W.T. (Brad Carrier)
Speaking to Now or Never Carrier said, "When I heard Anne Middler on the radio, on your show, I said, 'That's exactly what we need!' And so I called Anne."

Carrier ordered six kicksleds for his school and gave one to each classroom. Every day in the winter, a student from each class got to take the kicksled home for the night.

"The students were so excited," Carrier said. "We had a big demo day after we got them set-up. As soon as they saw them and started using them it was an instant hit. I had parents coming to the school, calling me, looking how to get them. It was amazing."

The kicksleds caught on in the community and pretty soon, other people wanted them, too. So Carrier brought in seven more, including one for the local nurse and two for the local rec program.

Looking for a winter alternative to the bicycle, Brad Carrier ordered six kicksleds for his students. (Brad Carrier)
hile the kicksled isn't a reasonable option for many commuters, Carrier said he'd recommend kicksleds to a lot of northern communities. Anywhere where the roads get plowed but not sanded, and there's packed snow, "When they're that nice white, slippery surface, it's the perfect kicksled surface," he explained.

Carrier's next goal is to get an extra large kicksled with a baby seat on the front so he can have his young daughter ride along with him.