Zipfying down the hill

Testing out the Zipfy 'freestyle mini luge' is a sweaty, but enjoyable, endeavor on the snowy hills at Andies Prairie.



Nora the Schnauzer asks, 'Are you sure about this?' before a test of the Zipfy begins at Andies Prairie.

I didn’t know sledding would make a person sweat. Yet, after a couple of hours with the Zipfy at Andies Prairie, my sodden longjohns clung to my back and arms.

Technically, I shouldn’t say "sledding," I suppose. Advertisers describe the Zipfy as a "freestyle mini luge."

No matter. Sled or luge, I worked up a sweat using it.

And it was fun.


And Nora the Schnauzer had a ball. She hardly paused from the moment she hit the parking area until I lifted her back into the car.

Well, Nora did pause wide-eyed when I plopped my backside onto the Zipfy (pronounced Zip-fee), but when I scooted down the hill, she raced past me.

I couple of times I almost caught her and jammed my heels into the slope to slow down.

That’s the thing about the Zipfy, as opposed to a sled.

You can stop a Zipfy. Once you get going on the sleds I grew up with, you ride until it stops. Or you roll off if it’s about to hit something hard, like a tree, a boulder or a speeding Buick.

Rolling off of a sled at high speed, however. poses its own problems.

When I first saw the Zipfy, sent by a company representative for me to try, it looked dangerous. And some of the literature had dire cautions about what could happen.

Then I Googled Zipfy and found several videos showing people using them on ski slopes and slalom courses. Some took a running start, leaped forward, legs out, landed with their butts on the luge and flew down the slopes, using the handle as a joy stick to guide the thing through the course.

Apparently, it’s inspired by coal-shovel races in the Alps, when people sat on the shovel blade (Brrrr! gotta be a bun-freezer) and used the handle to curve down a slope.

The Zipfy weighs less than four pounds, and it’s 12.5 inches wide and 20 inches long with a 16-inch handle. It’s geared for anyone 250 pounds or less and from 5 years old on up.

Given all of that, I took it to Andies Prairie with some trepidation (generated by my too-frequent face plants in the snow).

After loading the car with Nora, water, winter clothes, camera and tripod, I drove for a block before I remembered the Zipfy and went back to get it.

When I arrived at Andies Prairie, I let Nora out, gathered up the gear and walked toward the sledding area. After 50 yards, I remembered the Zipfy still in the car and went back to get it.

Nora zipped up and down the packed trail to the sledding area, with her feet hardly hitting the snow.

On the way, I wondered if I kept forgetting the Zipfy on purpose.

Then we had the sled area to ourselves, and I felt better.

I saw smaller hills across the area, but not being a wimp, I chose a spot on the big hill.

I dropped the Zipfy and set up the tripod. I attached the camera and set the timer for 10 seconds, which would allow me to settle onto the mini-luge and head down the hill as a frame clicked.


From the very first time down the hill, I enjoyed the Zipfy.

It zipped really fast, but I had trouble zig-zagging because weekend sledders had left hard trails for me to maneuver across.

Now that I think about it, sledding (or the Zipfying) didn’t make me sweat. It took about a 20 seconds to race Nora downhill.

Huffing and puffing up that hill, however, took forever.

It was darn sweaty work.

Contact Don Davis at or 526-8326.


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