ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Sledding is one of the cheapest forms of winter entertainment and may be one of the most popular once snow is on the ground. Ellison Park, Highland Park, and Cobb’s Hill are all great spots to hit the slopes, but another new spot is Graystone Links.
“Our first year was 2020, so it was kind of a trial year,” said Director of events Sheila Noonan. The facility carved out lanes for sledding, can make their own snow, and has inflatable tubes for sleds. “We have commercial grade tubes. We’ve got about 300 of them.”
Half of the tubes have a smooth bottom for slower conditions, and the other half with a rough bottom, when it’s faster. “If it’s a super warm day and it starts to get colder in the evening, we will try and till up the snow a little bit and make it a little bit more of a rough snow,” said Noonan.
Sledding begins by breaking the coefficient of friction between the sled and the snow. “Having that hydrophobic layer between the sled,” said Michael Pierce, Professor of Physics at RIT, “and then the little thin layer of water ice that’s formed can help to reduce the amount of friction.”
Pierce says a thin and durable wax on the bottom of your sled is key to increase speed. Even so, a specific weather condition is ideal for the sled hill. “You want the temperature to be about freezing or a little bit lower, so in the range of 20-32 degrees.”
When it comes to mass, that doesn’t matter. Gravity is the same no matter how much you weigh. When it comes to aerodynamics, it doesn’t matter much for the slower speeds. “Once you get past about the 12-15-18-20 mph then air resistance from the drag and sort of how you are positioned on the sled and the aerodynamics of it will become important,” said Pierce.