List of Sled Sports A-Z

List of Sled Sports

The word sled often evokes fun memories spent riding down hills with friends outside on winter days with school canceled; however, sleds can also be incredibly important pieces of high-efficiency equipment used in a wide range of sports. Sleds are used in a number of different ways depending on the sport: a bobsleigh is started by pure strength and then relies upon gravity to move down the track, while a dogsled is designed to be pulled by dogs, and sledge hockey players move their sled around using the metal spikes on the end of their sticks.

Some of these sports are designed with special tracks for the sled to move on, while others can occur anywhere on snow and can even be considered means of transportation. For people who live in places that are often covered in snow, dog sledding or horse pulling can serve as a safer, more versatile form of transportation. These sports may not be what comes to mind when you think of the word sled, but they are all ways that people utilize and compete in vehicles specially designed for snow and ice travel.

Sled Sports List A to Z


What are sled sports?

Sled sports are sports that require a sled or some variation of a vehicle capable of traveling over ice and snow in some sort of race environment. Sleds allow the rider to travel in a sitting or leaning position. Sleds were designed to travel on snow and ice, which means very little friction, leading to incredibly high speeds. Some of these sports, such as bobsleigh and luge, are so fast and dangerous that they take place on specially designed and cultivated tracks in order to keep them safe at the fastest possible speeds.

Do all sled sports require snow?

Sleds are inherently designed for use in the snow and ice, so although you may be able to use one outside of a snowy environment, you probably shouldn’t. As most vehicles don’t operate well outside of their suggested environment, sleds are an unusual case as they are really only designed to be operated in the snow. These aren’t the same plastic sleds used to fly down hills in neighborhoods but instead are often pieces of specialized equipment designed for ice tracks.

Which sled sports are in the Winter Olympics?

There are several Winter Olympic sports that are classified as sled sports, including bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton. Skeleton is typically considered the oldest sledding sport in the world, and it simply involves laying down face-first and navigating an ice track. Bobsleigh was invented by combining two skeleton sleds with a means of steering, and over time more modifications were added, like walls. Luge is similar to bobsleigh, but it comes with much greater risk as it removes much of the protection that bobsleigh riders have. Sledge hockey is a sport featured in the Winter Paralympics as well.

As is usually the case, Olympic sports tend to be more well-known and popular than non-Olympic sports. Therefore, it makes sense that sledge hockey, bobsleigh, and luge are among the most popular sled sports. Sledge hockey is simply a variation of ice hockey that is played on a sled, often by individuals with disabilities. This means that anybody who knows hockey effectively knows a good deal about sledge hockey as well. Bobsleigh gained a lot of popularity from the movie Cool Runnings, released in 1993, about four Jamaican bobsledders, who picked up the sport as a result of their desire to reach the Winter Olympic games without ever having seen snow.