Sledding can be a lot of fun, but pulling your toboggan, inner tube or sled back up the hill ... well, that isn't part of the fun. Yes, it definitely is good exercise, but it's not fun. While the rest of us just quietly resign ourselves to the long climb back up, however, Pennsylvania's Josh Smith did something about it – he built his own powered sled-and-rider-towing winch.

The almost 200-pound (90.7-kg) gizmo sports an 8 hp Techumseh Power Sport engine with a continuously-variable transmission, three shafts, and five speeds that can be selected between via a mountain bike grip shifter. It has a drive ratio of 30:1-4.5:1, which enables it to tow three adults up a 30-degree incline at a smooth slow speed, or "a rather bumpy high speed."

The winch incorporates a 2,100-foot (640-meter) rope that weighs over 70 pounds (31.75 kg), that has been spliced end-to-end to form a 1,050-foot (320-meter) loop. This loop runs through the machine at the top of the hill, then proceeds down to the bottom where sledders can grab onto it after their runs. According to Smith, a hill that usually takes at least 35 minutes to hike up, takes just 5 minutes with his winch.

Although the device turned out well, it's still a work in progress. "The planned improvements include a coat of paint, additional safety kill switches (three currently) and a better way of attaching to the rope," Smith told Gizmag. "The extreme gear ratio was necessary for the heavy loads and steep inclines, but the resulting high end power range has now interesting potential for other sporting applications that we intend to test."

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