Custom sleds are an Iceman’s special identity. We all have different needs and ideas. I love the creativity and unique ways Icemen adapt, modify, and create their Ice Yachts!
Snow depth atop ice determines what type of sled you need. Many Icemen love a Smitty style sled. These sleds are equipped with skis and elevate the toboggan or other style sled. This allows less resistance when sliding along a snow-covered lake.
Toboggan sleds come in a variety of lengths and styles. I prefer the higher sided sleds. Black is a good color. You can wax the bottom for smoother slide. If you get a scratch or hole, seal it with Lexel silicon adhesive or super tape. These sleds are also great for carrying big game/ gear during a winter hunt.
The problem with a toboggan sled is that they can bog down in deep snow. Low sides allow snow to flop into the sled. If the snow is soft, you end up plowing through it rather than sliding atop it. You can make a Smitty modification to adapt the sled to the snow. If you are on ice, a taller sled will blow easily in the wind. You may need an anchor to keep the sled in place.
My buddy, Handy Randy, came up with a way to modify his toboggan into a Smitty Ski Slider. He made the Smitty undercarriage separate from the toboggan. Using a couple of bungees allows him to connect the two together.
Weight is always a factor. Keep the sled modification simple. Avoid plastic that can fracture in severe cold. Think about organization when building your sled. Where do you store the rods, tackle box, auger, and other needs.
Make your tow rope longer rather than short. Have a loop big enough to loop around your waist or over/across your shoulder. 5-6 feet is not too long. Find the length to fit your size and needs.
Modify the sled to fit in your truck bed. If the sled is too long or wide, it will be a challenge to travel. You need to slide at least 2 sleds in the truck bed. My first sleds were made to fit my big, gasoline Jiffy augers. The new drill powered ice augers are way lighter and take up less space. Once you go to a battery auger, you will never go back to gas or propane.
If you use drill batteries, have a small warming bag. I use old socks to cover my batteries. You can place a hand warmer in the sock to keep the battery from freezing. Once they freeze, they are ruined.
The ice sled is their hard water yacht. Make yours as fancy and fun as you can.