5 Tips for Kick Power: Helping You Go the Distance on Your Kicksled!
Whether you want to reach top speed, or travel miles on the trail, getting more power from your kicks will have you going faster and further with less effort. Kicksleds can reach top speeds of over 9mph. Even at a moderate pace of 5mph, you can travel great distances on your kicksled. The most important factors are footwear and the surface you will be sliding on. Other things to consider are the amount of weight on your sled and kicking technique. Check out these tips and you’ll be passing skiers in no time!
Foot Wear and Traction Devices
There are several products available that will help you grip the snow or ice to get the most power from your kicks. There are boots you can buy with built-in spikes. This seems a bit impractical for switching surfaces but does provide great traction for snow and ice. There are also separate metal spikes that are meant to be installed on your own boots permanently. Again, this seems impractical for switching surfaces. The most popular option are crampons that slip over your boots separately. These crampons are usually made of stretchy rubber band and metal spikes and chains. They slip on and off easily and really grip the snow and ice. Their ease of use makes them the item of choice for kicksledding.
Choosing the right crampons will give you not only power, but also stability. You should feel stable on your spikes, not wobbly. Crampons are a must have product and great investment for anyone braving the snow in winter. They are not only great for kickledding, but anytime you will be walking on snow or ice. Looking for crampon recommendations? Checkout this article on crampons for kicksledding.
Weight on your Sled
When snow and ice conditions are prime, carrying a passenger on your sled is no problem. Having a passenger can actually add stability and even carrying two small passengers can be accomplished for several miles. But, it's no surprise that this extra weight is going to slow you down. When there are a few inches of fresh snow, having a passenger will require even more effort, especially up hills. When carrying two kids, you can ask them to hop off and walk up hills to save energy. This helps passengers keep warm by getting some movement and helps lighten the load for the person kicking the sled. If you are kicksledding with kids, you can check out our checklist on what to pack.
Snow and Ice Conditions
Another factor that determines how far your kicks will move your kicksled is the surface you are sliding on. The deeper the snow, the more effort it will take. Like skiing, kicksledding requires you to monitor snow and ice conditions. Surface conditions will determine where the best kicksledding can be found on that particular day of winter.
Trails that were once covered in deep snow can quickly become packed down and perfect for taking out your kicksled. With a slight warm up on a sunny day and then a cold freeze at night, trails become icy. These icy trails are treacherous to hikers wearing plain boots, are not good for skiing and can be dangerous for fat tire bikes too. But, these are great kicksledding conditions! Icy trails allow our kicksled to glide quickly and with much less effort. And you'll pretty much have these icy trails to yourself.
Keep Your Energy Up
Kicksledding is so much fun, you are bound to feel like a kid again. Therefore, Mom is here reminding you to pack some snacks and drink lots of water. Sometimes, when exercising in the cold, you might not feel as thirsty or hungry as you do normally. But the air is very dry and the wind is cooling you down. Make sure you stay hydrated and snacks are always a good thing.
And lastly, kicking technique. Kicking comes naturally to get moving but when traveling a longer distance this tip can come in handy. While most people have one dominant leg that is stronger, you should not limit your kicking to one leg. Instead, switch equally between legs with about 5-10 kicks per leg. Overtime, the less dominant leg will get stronger.
There you have it. In a nutshell, get yourself crampons that feel comfortable with your kicksled, monitor snow and ice conditions and start kicksledding to build your muscles.