Tobogganing in the Hurunui

If you’re a snow junkie, the thrill of zipping down the slopes over and over again is why you long for winter to roll around. But for some, it’s a repetitive nightmare... tumbling down the slopes headfirst, eating snow and booking a one-way trip to A&E. If that’s you, or if you’re after some entertainment for the whole family, we have the ‘how-to’ guide for a whole day’s tobogganing - sit back, put your feet up and slide!

The laundry basket: Plastic works best - hop in and get someone to start you off with a push, these things go fast so make sure you have plenty of clearance down the bottom!

Real estate signs or cardboard: Head along to your local real estate agents and ask if they have an old sign lying around. They’re lightweight, slippery and fast! But if you’re out of luck, a large piece of cardboard should do the trick as well. But take more than one – they do get a bit soggy.

Rubbish bags: The traditional method for many kiwis is the good ol’ slippery rubbish bag. Get the thickest ones from your local supermarket.

Rubber car mats: For those moments when you find yourself at the perfect tobogganing spot without a sled. Take the car mats from the front seats and go for it - but make sure they don’t have spikes on the bottom!

A Tarpaulin: Drag the old tarpaulin from the garage, fold it up a few times and away you go.

DIY! Make a project out of it. Find a basic template online or design an idea yourself, head to your local hardware store and put it together. You’ll love sliding through the snow on your own sled - keep it light so it glides with ease!

A basic plastic sled from hardware or plastics solutions stores: Most major retailers are clued up when it comes to the winter, they stock a whole range of toboggans from intense sleds to small plastic seats with a handle. Check out the $2-type shops – you’ll be surprised.

  1. Wrap up warm! Sliding through the snow can get chilly but layers of warm clothing will also act as padding. Avoid scarves and any dangling fabric that could get caught underneath the sled.
  2. Finding the best snow – this depends on how fast you want to go. For some adrenaline, find packed snow with an icy top – but be warned this is a hard surface so falling off will hurt!
  3. Powder is a safe option but it can slow you down. Avoid slushy snow! In its melting phase it can expose the ground beneath, tripping you up and slowing you down.
  4. Choose the right hill – Find one with a slope that suits your ability and has a large flat area at the bottom for you to come to a stop. Also, steer clear of sliding towards a road, a footpath or trees.
  5. Have fun and stay safe! Sled to your ability, watch out for obstacles and put helmets on young children.

MT LYFORD: Not far from the Mt Lyford log cabin village is the Mt Lyford ski area. Great fun for everyone and if there are some less confident skiers in your group, take a toboggan up to this controlled ski area with great snow.

Or... take your toboggan along and enjoy the snow outside of your accommodation in the village.

HANMER SPRINGS: The Hanmer Ski Field might be closed for the 2016 season but that doesn’t mean you can’t toboggan! The snow in the area is still perfect for it. Stop by Lake Tennyson and toboggan along the side of the lake or head up the hills around the districts – just watch out for the lake itself and surrounding roads in the district.

HIT THE PARKS: The kiwi way to do it. Parks and reserves are dotted all around the Hurunui district so keep an eye out. For some light tobogganing they make for great areas to pull over, grab the sled out and away you go.

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