Slebogganing – the next revolution in winter sports?
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
Is Bill Herrick, the next big name in winter sports? Only time will tell. Bill has invented a new sport called “Slebogganing“! Slebogganing is cross been sledding and tobogganing. Just as snowboarding was a cross between “surfing” and “skiing”, will this new sport create a whole new category of winter sport and hence a new sports industry. We hope so, because Bill is such an innovative and likible guy. SPORTSTECHREVIEW caught up with Bill and would love to tell you his story:
“I grew up in Vermont and skied most of my life. However, age and occupation kept changing and I ended up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee from 1986 till 2006. I retired from Middle Tennessee State University in 2001. It was not until 2006, however, that I met a wonderful lady (I’d been divorced for 26 years) and moved to her place in New Hampshire. It was great to get back in New England. New Hampshire is not Vermont, but close.
Last winter my son and his wife and my grandson visited over Christmas. Wanting to take my grandson tobogganing I borrowed a plastic toboggan from the neighbors and that’s when the fun began. My honey Donna has eleven acres, mostly wooded and quite steep. I had not been on a toboggan for probable 60 years and forgot that one had very little control over them. Since the property has many trees, stonewalls, etc. the tobogganing didn’t work out very well and we were always digging ourselves out of the snow. I promised the kids I cut a path through the woods and make a toboggan run so that next winter (winter 2010-11) when they visited we could have a lot more fun tobogganing.
We had fun, but were unable to go very far down the path I had cut through the woods. It was about 2000 feet long and not very straight. The first snows didn’t until Christmas 2010 and therefore I didn’t know about all the problems we would have trying to go down the path I had cut through the woods. I didn’t give up trying to toboggan the entire 2000 foot length of my toboggan run. I continued to experiment with different types of snow toboggans, saucers, etc., but just couldn’t keep from going out of the run whenever it turned the slightest, particularly, as the snow became more packed and the run got faster. The faster it got the more out of control I got and came close a couple of times of doing some real damage to my body. This worried Donna and whenever the kids called I’d have to tell them that I hadn’t made it to the end of the run but would before the spring.
I had to figure out a way to steer/control a toboggan and also how to control the speed. Then one day I was going through the storage building where Donna’s kids had stored lots of stuff and found an old surf board. I asked Donna about it, because I had this brainstorm that I could build something out of it to steer the toboggans. She said it belonged to her son Rob and I should call him. He didn’t remember for sure, but gave me permission to use it as I wanted. I didn’t know at the time and he didn’t either that it wasn’t his.
The idea of the Sleboggan began forming and I cut the front of the surfboard off. I knew that I’d need to be able to hold a path and be able to turn without slipping so I attached three steel runners to the bottom made from sheet-rock steel edges, which are used to butt two sheets of sheet-rock together. Then on top I attached two handles from sheet-rock trolls. The idea of calling it a sleboggan comes from runners on a sled and then of course boggan from toboggan.
It worked fantastic – I was able to steer the toboggan I was lying on with ease and even as fast as I went I felt totally in control. I made the entire 2000 foot run with no problems. I now call the run a sleboggan run rather than a toboggan run. Then I went out and bought five more toboggans and by hooking them together I can safely steer all of them at the same time. With the four toboggans behind me with two people riding in each I have taken 8 people down the sleboggan run quite fast and totally in control. I have built five sleboggans now - one is small that a child might use. I have also been to a large wide open slope that the kids in the area toboggan on and my sleboggan works fantastic. I can crisscross the hill to prevent picking up to much speed, can steer away from stumps, tree, etc., and other people and do not need a grooved run to enjoy the sleboggan.
Where do I see Slebogganing going. I see sleboggans being bought by kids as well as their parents so that they can have fun going down snow covered slopes. Parents buying and towing their youngster safely down snow covered hills, trails, etc. The big advantage is of course that of steering most toboggans they already own. I also see the kids coming up with racing each other, and I see Sleboggans runs for timed sleboggans races. Of course I see the Z generation (I think that is what they call today’s’ generation) doing “Extreme Slebogganing,” stunts and likely aerial rolls off from launch areas. I see ski area’s setting aside slopes just for slebogganing, because as the sport grows lifts to the top of hills would be helpful and allow for more runs. Additionally, I can visualize a whole new slebogganing industry. Already, I know that a boot designed especially for slebogganing, particularly, at high speeds is needed as I ripped the soul partly of from one pair of boots. In new snow the slebogganer needs gloves that cover nearly up to the elbow is worth while. I use bee keepers gloves inside if wool mittens presently. And another great idea in my opinion would be a toboggan design just for slebogganers with a padded area that one lays on. I would also see that it was available with Velcro and Velcro vest or similar on the slebogganers clothing, particularly for those entering the “Extreme Slebogganin.” That way the slebogganer’s toboggan remains with them during their aerial rolls and other stunts.”
So, we like what Bill Herrick has done – he has invented a new sport, developed the technology needed to make it better and is now trying to promote it across the world. Slebogganing looks fun and if you hear the screams in the video, sounds like a great ride. SPORTSTECHREVIEW would like to thank Bill for the interview and wish him good luck on his ventures.
If you have a new sport with some serious innovation then please get in touch.
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 12:14 pm and is filed under Bryan Roberts, Snowsports, Sports Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.