The Science of Sledding - WSPA.com

The Science of Sledding

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Jason Randall, along with daughter Hallie, and family dog Sandy sled down a hill in southern Greenville County (AP) Jason Randall, along with daughter Hallie, and family dog Sandy sled down a hill in southern Greenville County (AP)
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -

In a day full of seriously dangerous road conditions and weather worries, we’re giving you a look at the softer side of snow and the best way to sled on your snow day.

7 On Your Side found some help from Upstate Materials Engineer Yuri Chekalove.

Chekalove told us your sledding experience can be more exciting by paying attention to the snow texture and the type of sled you’re riding.

“The friction force would be the smallest on the ice, next surface which would be good for sledding is compacted snow and the hardest to go downhill would be slush.,” he said.

That means any slick and tightly packed snow will keep you riding the fastest and make you glide a big further than slushy snow.

Chekalove also talks about the type of sled you should use. He said thin, metal sleds would get your speed up but often you may only be able to find plastic sleds readily available.

Luckily he said, those will work just fine.

For fresh snow, the best choice would be to have a wide flat bottom,” said Chekalove.

There are some rules this engineer said he learned from his childhood that sliders should take into consideration.

“Sledding head first is a big NO. Also when you sled, pay attention not to get close to the road,” he said.

Experts also urge you to sled solo and not pile too many people onto your sled. Watch out for trees or sliding into the road if you’re near an area with cars and traffic or a neighborhood.

Chekalove warns not to climb a hill that’s too steep because you may end up riding too fast and not be able to stop safely.

Most importantly he said, sledding is great exercise and a chance to have a little fun on a day off.

“Dress warm and enjoy the snow because it will be gone in a couple of days,” said Chekalove.

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