A really nice type of sled. The flexible flier has two runners going the length of it, supporting a wooden seat and joined in the front by a pivoting footrest-type bar used for steering. To steer left, you push your right foot against the right side of the bar, which causes the runners to bend to the left.

Flexible Flier type sleds tend to go really fast, since they have only two thin runners which cuts way down on friction. The only weakness is stopping, which with the absence of formal brakes can only be accomplished by running out of momentum (which can be hard mid-hill) or by falling off and holding the rope. But stopping is for wusses anyway.

These are also most efficacious when ridden lying on your stomach. This allows you to steer using body weight and the steering bar with your hands; the lower center of gravity makes it harder to fall off, and the jarring SLAMs of the sled hitting the ground after bouncing over ruts, bumps and gullies will knock the breath out of you, making for a helluva ride.

Plus, the snow and ice will pour over your face, requiring you to squint and/or wear goggles, increasing the coolness factor.

Finally, in the grand tradition of luge, there is no velocity which does not become more exciting if one places oneself nose-on to it at low altitude - which describes the front-down position on a Flexible Flyer precisely, and puts you one up on those wussy lugers who go feet-first.

gee, Bitter_Engineer, one would almost think those were bad things! Heck, what's sledding without risk? :-)

I have to disagree with the writeups above. In my own experiences in the upper Midwest, the flexible flyer is only good for running on ice, or on snow that has been packed down by other sledders. If you try to run a flexible flyer down a hill with fresh snow, then you are most likely going to have one or both of two problems:
  1. If the snow is not deep enough, the runners will sink straight through the snow, and run on the grass and dirt beneath.
  2. If the snow is too deep, the wooden bar will drag in the snow above, spraying your face with more snowdust than is fun. In the worst case, the sled will become completely submerged in snow, and will barely move at all.
In my experience, the flexible flyer is outclassed by the inner tube for smoothness of ride and hang time off jumps, the carpet sled for control and excitement (see the last part of The_Custodian's writeup above), and the saucer sled for sheer terror. All of these sleds perform admirably on deep and/or fresh snow, due to the fact that they disperse the weight of the user.

The only exception to this is when you decide to sled over very hard-packed snow or ice, which is when the thin runners of the sled show their true worth on control and speed. This is also a good place to mention the enormous increase in injury potential that you get when you choose a flexible flyer: (hard wipeout at high velocity) + (cheap wood and metal vehicle) = emergency room visit

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