Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My search for the world's best sled

Ready for the snow!
My family's all-time favorite sled suffered a big crack last winter, and I've been looking everywhere to replace it. After weeks of no luck, I dusted off the old journalism skills, determined to locate a new plastic Torpedo sled, preferably in red. Today, I hit a major dead end. Thinking I had dialed the number of a sledding manufacturer, I found myself listening to a recorded message offering a variety of phone "romance" experiences.

This is a family friendly website, so use your imagination to figure out what I mean by phone “romance.”

It was an old number from a 2005 press release. Still, I was confused when I heard an absurdly alluring female voice inviting me to join her and her "friends" in a string of double entendres and innuendo, only about half of which I think I got. I listened for a while, waiting for her to say, “if you are calling for snow sleds, dial the pound key.”  She didn't.

Our old sled is red plastic speed, the fastest sled we’ve owned. We affectionately call it "The Torpedo," mostly because it has "Torpedo" imprinted across the top. It can be steered, has two holes in the top for a tow rope and endured almost seven years of hard wear and tear before its nose was crushed in a snowman collision.

We've tried other plastic sleds. We've tried sleds with fancy steering, seats and foot rests, decorated with crazy graphics and with far-out names, but they just aren't as good. The hardware store where I purchased the original is no longer is business. Searches on Amazon and eBay pulled up wooden Torpedo sleds with steel rails, but nothing of the cheap, plastic variety.

I thought it might have been made by Flexible Flyer, which sells a very similar looking sled called the Winter Lightening. Santa brought three, because he got a great deal online. But no. Once home, I could tell they weren't the same. (It hasn't yet snowed enough to try them out, so more on their performance later.)

Customer service at Paricon, maker of the Flexible Flyer sleds, helpfully informed me by e-mail that the Torpedo manufacturer had gone out of business. The news reporter in me just couldn't let it go at that. What if I uncovered that another manufacturer was building the Torpedo design! My family would be so happy! And maybe my blog post about it would earn a bunch of new sledding-enthusiast readers!

After an evening and morning of online searching, I thought I’d pieced together a trail of acquisitions and bankruptcy filings leading me to the ultimate owner of the best snow sled design ever. And that’s when I connected with Ms. Join-Me-And-My-Inappropriate-Friends.  I think I’m done now.

So kids, get out the duct tape, time to fix up The Torpedo. Doesn’t look like we’ll be getting a new one anytime soon.

Anybody else have suggestions for great, inexpensive sleds? And if you see a Torpedo out there, I'd love to know about it. 

1 comment:

  1. That's such a bummer that the torpedo sled maker isn't in business anymore! Ironically enough, I came across your blog while doing a google search looking to order some torpedos.
    They were the fastest most durable sleds back when I was a kid. We used to play demolition derby snow sledding and those sleds took a beating before they were busted apart!
    We had a snow storm this weekend and I took my daughter to the store to pick up a sled.... Not even joking when I say, the first run down the hill and a huge piece broke off of the bottom and back part of the sled! Sad part is she didn't even hit anything or run anything over! It's a shame the junk they manufacture today. $40 in the trash