Buying Right

Sled your way into the future with a revolutionary new trio of bunny-slope bombers

Burton Approach Snowdeck     Photo: Clay Ellis

Outdoor Gear Reviewed: Snow Sleds and Snowdecks

Burton Approach Snowdeck

Outdoor Gear Reviewed: Snow Sleds and Snowdecks

Airboard Classic

Outdoor Gear Reviewed: Snow Sleds and Snowdecks

Wham-O Snowboogie XRS-Pro

OLD-SCHOOL toboggans just got a high-tech overhaul. For our review of the hottest new sleds, we took three of 'em to Bouncer—a run at Copper Mountain Resort, 75 miles west of Denver—where we raced, crashed, bashed, and damn near summoned the wrath of God. Check out the results.

Burton Approach Snowdeck
($80; 800-881-3138, www.burton.com)
PRODUCT CLAIMS: Carve a snowbowl like a skater with this plastic sled. VERDICT: After numerous practice runs on this skateboard-style ride, our testers managed to turn it—barely—perform flips (landing face first), and do tricks ... like catching an edge. Solo, the board became a missile—and a big hassle to chase. IDEAL FOR ... Terrain-park groms with balance and coordination to burn. TIME/AVERAGE SPEED OVER 180 FEET: 24.1 seconds/5.10 mph.

Airboard Classic
($269; 510-225-7000, www.airboard.com)
PRODUCT CLAIMS: Air ride, welded construction, and unparalleled launch-and-land capability are muy bueno. VERDICT: This inflatable, nine-inch-thick sled with diagonal steering fins down below is moderately fast in powder and on hardpack, handles well, is as comfy and durable as a tube, and deflates to the size of a laptop. However, the high price tag tarnishes the downhill joy. IDEAL FOR ... Top-secret midnight skeleton runs at Utah Winter Sports Park. TIME/AVERAGE SPEED OVER 180 FEET: 14.7 seconds/8.35 mph.

Wham-O Snowboogie XRS-Pro
($35; 888-942-6650, www.snowboogie.com)
PRODUCT CLAIMS: The fancy braking-and-steering system gives you superior control and agility. VERDICT: This foam board with a slick-plastic belly is superquick when running straight—a feeling enhanced by sledding headfirst, your chin just an inch or so off the snow. Helping to pull the semiflexible racer into long turns are the shoulder-level brake levers, but wipeouts transform them into potential tonsillectomy tools. IDEAL FOR ... Traditionalists who like to rip golf courses. TIME/AVERAGE SPEED OVER 180 FEET: 10 seconds/12.27 mph.

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