tobogganing, sport of coasting down snowy hillsides or chutes on a toboggan, a flat-bottomed vehicle made of hard wood. The toboggan, typically measuring 1.5 ft by 6–8 ft (.46 m by 1.8–2.4 m), is curled up at the front end to allow it to slide over irregularities of surface. The bottom is waxed, and sometimes very low, broad steel runners are added to facilitate speed. The toboggan is a development of the simple bark-and-skin runnerless sled of the Native Americans. Steering is accomplished by shifting weight and the use of trailing feet. At winter-sports resorts special iced slides or chutes are constructed with elevated sides to eliminate the need for steering. Tobogganing is the forerunner of bobsledding. See also luge; skeleton; sled.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.