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I thought I was being too optimistic when I decided to buy the children sledges this winter. We never have snow... Well, we never have more than a morning's worth of snow to make a tiny snowman (as per my profile picture). This is the south west, we're right on the coast and we just don't get much!
As it turned out, we had a really hard winter (nothing compared to people further up the country admittedly) and we ended up with a week's worth of the white stuff, several inches thick. I was so pleased. For the first time in about twenty years we could build a full-sized snowman.
Because of my doubts surrounding whether we would even get any snow down here, I wanted something cheap - and light enough for my son of six to be able to use easily. When I saw this 'bobcat' sledge online through Amazon, it fitted my criteria. I ordered two, one each for the children. I was a bit miffed that there was no reduction in delivery/packaging costs for the two together, but they arrived quickly.
The sledges are plastic moulded shells, around three feet long and approximately 1 and a half feet across. Ours came in a bright, strong red colour. The sledges are shaped to slide, with slightly raised noses and runner ridges along the bottom. The inside is shaped to accommodate the rider, with ridges for foot-grip and hand-holds on the sides. The plastic they are constructed from isn't hugely thick but is tough. While rigid, the plastic has a little flex in it so it will give rather than shatter. They are light-weight and easy for children to drag around.
The sledges also have ropes to pull and guide them. The rope provided with the sledges is somewhat shorter than the one pictured above, and is that very cheap, rough, blue nylon type, but is easily replaced.
In practice, the sledges performed well. My son got to grips with sledging very quickly, and could whiz down the garden slopes at Granny's house without a problem. My daughter took longer to get the hang of it and kept tipping out to the side, which led to a terrible sulk as she hates not being able to do something straight away and that little brother could do it added insult to injury. She likes to be the one instructing and advice from the Boy went down like a lead balloon! Once she got it 'though, they were away. We had a lovely time watching, grandparents, parents and neighbours - all afternoon until the adults were shivering in their boots and begging to go inside.
However the adults did have some fun: we all had a go, even Granny! Now the maximum weight recommended for these sledges is 60 kg, which is around 9 and half stone, and I'm not casting aspersions but some of us may have weighed more than that... The sledges stood up to this abuse pretty well. One has a minor crack, but is still very useable.
We had several days intensive sledging fun, on the driveway and Granny's garden.
Since then, we've stored them in the utilty room, hung by their ropes: they don't take up much room that way, although they are moving to their summer home shortly. As I look the sledges over before they go up into the loft until winter comes again, they seem in good shape: slightly scuffed runners and bottoms from normal use - and the small crack in one from being tested to extremes.
These were a good purchase for us. If you reliably get snow where you live, you might want to look at higher spec sledges than these and spend rather more, but for occasional use these were great.
Currently the 'bobcat' sledge is available through Amazon at £12.64. It's recommended for children over three, up to a maximum weight of 60 kg: so most children, teens and light adults can use it.