Outdoors

Snowbull sled takes skiing lying down

The rider's position cuts air resistance (older version)
The rider's position cuts air resistance (older version)
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The Snowbull combines skis, sled and luge (older version)
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The Snowbull combines skis, sled and luge (older version)
The Snowbull is an Austrian design (older version)
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The Snowbull is an Austrian design (older version)
This Snowbull rides on Atomic carving skis (older version)
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This Snowbull rides on Atomic carving skis (older version)
The rider can turn and edge the skis (older version)
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The rider can turn and edge the skis (older version)
The Snowbull design allows for carving on snow and ice (older version)
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The Snowbull design allows for carving on snow and ice (older version)
The rider stops by leaning back on the cushion (older version)
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The rider stops by leaning back on the cushion (older version)
The Snowbull comes in basic and carbon fiber versions (older version)
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The Snowbull comes in basic and carbon fiber versions (older version)
The Snowbull weighs as little as 9.7 lbs (4.4 kg) (older version)
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The Snowbull weighs as little as 9.7 lbs (4.4 kg) (older version)
The braking system is located on the underside of the seat (older version)
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The braking system is located on the underside of the seat (older version)
The Snowbull gives the rider control with braking and steering systems (older version)
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The Snowbull gives the rider control with braking and steering systems (older version)
The rider's position cuts air resistance (older version)
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The rider's position cuts air resistance (older version)
The rider's position cuts air resistance (older version)
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The rider's position cuts air resistance (older version)
Rendering of the new Snowbull
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Rendering of the new Snowbull
Rendering of the new Snowbull
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Rendering of the new Snowbull
Rendering of the new Snowbull
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Rendering of the new Snowbull

Traditionally the domain of small children celebrating a snow day, sledding is slowly working its way up to a serious snow sport akin to skiing. About a month ago, we covered the US$3,000 Snolo Stealth-X carbon fiber sled, and now we have another high-tech sled built for serious downhillers. The Snowbull is an Austrian-designed sled that uses high-tech components for a sharp, fast ride.

The Snowbull lies somewhere between traditional sled, luge and sit-down ski. The device engages with the snow with a pair of actual skis – Atomic carving skis in the version that we see here. As a result, it offers some of the speed and carving advantages of actual skis.

Instead of standing on the skis with a set of boots and bindings, the pilot lies down on them via Snowbull's patented sled-style interface. By holding onto the two handles they can carve left or right thanks to the tilting action, which allows the ski edges to grab the snow like they would during traditional alpine skiing. A pair of footholds and a turning action actuate more powerful carves.

While we'd think that you could carve into a stop like you would on skis, the Snowbull also has a separate braking system. The driver cushion tilts backwards, causing a metal brake to dig into the snow and slow the sled to a stop.

The Snowbull comes in basic and carbon fiber versions (older version)
The Snowbull comes in basic and carbon fiber versions (older version)

Because you lie down on the Snowbull, it shouldn't have the same impact on the knees and joints. It appears to be a good option for skiers and snowboarders that have long- or short-term knee issues or other physical impairments.

The unit is also designed to be easy to store and transport, breaking down into components with a few simple steps.

Rendering of the new Snowbull
Rendering of the new Snowbull

The Snowbull has been around for several years, and a new model will hit the market during the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2012/13. It will start around €150 (US$195), which doesn't include the actual skis. A Snowbull rep told us that the latest model uses a new ski adapter designed to work with skis of all types. It also has a larger, more powerful braking mechanism. There will also be an lightweight carbon fiber model.

The older version of the Snowbull is currently available on eBay for €150. Our gallery contains renderings of the new model along with photos of the original. You can also watch some Snowbull action in the video below.

Source: Snowbull

10 comments
DemonDuck
A handy device to test the non-elastic propertys of trees.....
Sambath Pech
It would be really bad if you were to crash onto an incoming tree.
Oztechi
I just realized that if you have a big stomach, you will not be able to see where you are going with this sled design. It is also somewhat lacking in suspension, like many other sleds.
Max Kennedy
looks like a great way to drive snow up your back, better be wearing a 1 piece snow suit!
Fritz Menzel
I'm starting to think I don't want to die of old age or anything that drags on and on and on. I would think death on this idiot-chair would be pretty much instantaneous, so I'm gonna have to buy me one.
Zappenfusen
I've never experienced snow being from the southeast U.S. yet even in my eye's this appears to be an uncontrollable, accident waiting to happen! It doesn't look like fun either.
Russell Vonthien
Those 2 handle Poles and 2 foot Poles look like the perfect implements to impale oneself on during the inevitable collisions.
The Hoff
It should be called the snow bronco
Bruce H. Anderson
Flexible Flyer, toboggan, luge, snowbards, even 6 mil plastic sheet on the landing ramp at the Squaw Valley ski jump. Lots of fun, although they are all variations of Cold Death. Get over it.
33Nick
As much as I really, really want to try it $3,000 is steep again. My Volks are $1,000 which is already too much.