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Tobogganing as a leisure activity - with the necessary safety equipment

Tobogganing , also sledging or sledding is originally a winter mode of transportation, a mountain using a Rodel s ( carriage drive down). Today, toboggan is the sporting device that can be steered by shifting weight.

The toboggan

Historic horn sledge
Classic leisure sled

A sled , also briefly toboggan (the Upper German - Swiss rotteln "shake", "shake") or slides ( ahd. Slito "slider" comp "slide."), Is a two runners existing and a rack device. It is used to slide down a slope or a toboggan run after it has been pulled into a higher position by muscle power or with the help of a ski lift . Since toboggans need less snow than skis , they are also widespread in areas with less snowfall.


Horn sledge ride, Swiss Alps, approx. 1890–1910

Sledges have been used as a means of transport for thousands of years. In Europe , the first sledges have been used as a means of winter transport since the early days, for example in Scandinavia, in the Alpine region or in the Ore Mountains as pull sleds for transporting hay and wood and, in smaller forms, for transporting people. The first mention of tobogganing is made by Plutarch about the Cimbri , who are said to have run naked through the snow up the mountain and, while sitting on wide, flat shields, kicked themselves off and rushed down. The later toboggan developed as a recreational device from alpine sledge shapes.

A toboggan is traditionally made of ash or beech wood with iron-clad runners, although newer ones are also made of plastics . It usually offers space for one or two people on a seat on wooden slats or a fabric covering and has a cord that can be pulled uphill and over flat stretches. A distinction is essentially made between the Davos sledge and the horn sledge.


Since the beginning of the 19th century, tobogganing has also been popular as an independent winter sport in the form of luge on artificial ice rinks and natural tobogganing . The forms originally derived from the pulling slide have developed into specialized high-performance devices. Races on traditional sleds are only more common than folkloric entertainment.

In contrast to the Davos sledge, the modern sport or touring sledge has inclined, iron-shod runners and is usually rubber-mounted, ie movable. The runners of the Davos sledge lie flat on the ground, while those of the toboggan only rest on one edge. The runners of the toboggan are slightly arched in the longitudinal direction, in combination with the sliding construction of the toboggan - as with the classic pull sledge - this allows the driver to only shift weight (arm and upper body) and footwork on the toboggan (foot or ankle inside against the front Press frame curve: press right for left curve and press left for right curve) and additional pulling on the steering belt / cable to control it. The driver of a Davos sledge, on the other hand, has to press his feet against the ground in order to steer the sled (press left for left curve and press right for right curve) and in tight curves usually move the sled sideways. The toboggan is more stable and also much faster than the Davos sledge.

Other sports equipment for sliding on snow

In addition to the actual toboggan, there has been the bobsleigh since the 1960s - not a sledge in the true sense of the word. With this device it is also possible to slide on sand dunes . Bobs are available as plastic tubs with guide grooves, on which the feet can also be placed at the front, with a more or less pronounced seat with backrest, partly controllable with two handles, as well as the simple Zipflbob with handle that you take between your legs. Other sports equipment similar to the toboggan are the skeleton and the bobsleigh racing bobsleigh as well as the schibob , which is rarely found today. As an alternative to tobogganing, there have also been inflatable air-cushion sleds since 2001 . The use of this sports equipment is not permitted or permitted on most toboggan runs in the Alps.

For hobby -Rodler is possible on summer toboggan runs to ride. The runners (rails) on the summer toboggan have been replaced by inline rollers. In summer tobogganing there are national and international competitions (international Austria Cup and European and World Championships organized by the ISSU).

Toboggan runs


  • The longest designated toboggan run is on the Wallberg in Upper Bavaria and has a length of 6.5 km.
  • The longest snow-covered toboggan run is on the Wurmberg in Braunlage / Harz. It starts at 727 meters and is 1.6 km long.
  • The longest natural toboggan run in the Ore Mountains is the natural toboggan run on Schellenberg in Augustusburg / Ore Mountains. The starting point is 470 meters with a length of 1.5 km.


In the Wildkogel-Arena Neukirchen & Bramberg in Salzburg , the longest illuminated toboggan run in the world with a length of 14 km starts at the Smaragdbahn mountain station.


As part of SwitzerlandMobility , over 80 toboggan runs in Switzerland were uniformly marked and described on a website.


  • Frank M. Kammel: Hot runners: Sledging: Representation, pleasure, sport . Germanisches Nationalmuseum Abt. Vlg, 2007, ISBN 978-3-936688-22-1 .
  • Joachim Köninger: Loop, sledge, wheel and wagon: on the question of early means of transport north of the Alps . Janus, 2002 (round table Hemmenhofen October 10, 2001).
  • Herta Maurer-Lausegger : About sledges… In: Documentation of old folk culture in dialect . Hermagoras, 1999, ISBN 978-3-85013-684-6 (synchronized German version).

Web links

Commons : Sledging  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Tobogganing  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Plutarch : Marius , 23, after Birgit Neuwald: Germanen and Germanien in Greek sources , p. 95, Kettwig 1992.
  2. Köninger, 2002.
  3. Toboggan run on Wallberg - How dangerous is the route really? ( Memento of the original from January 22, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Tegernsee Voice , January 16, 2011 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Internet presence at
  5. Leipziger Volkszeitung: Guide to toboggan runs
  6. Website of the Augustusburg leisure center 'Rost's Wiesn'
  7. Internet presence of the toboggan run
  8. SwitzerlandMobility: Sledging