Super winch makes sledding 100% more fun


As every kid quickly finds out, sledding in the winter is awesome until you have to trudge back up to the top of the hill. If your sledding run is reasonably short, this isn’t a problem, but if you sled on huge hills like [Josh], you need to figure something out.

He had a go kart motor sitting around, so he figured he might as well put it to good use as a sledding winch. The winch runs a continual loop of over 1000 feet of rope, and is able to pull 3 adults up a 30 degree incline fairly easily. They say that necessity is the mother of innovation, but at some point you have to ask, “Does sledding really require an 8 HP motor and a continuously variable transmission?” The answer, of course is a resounding “Yes!”

Not only does this winch allow [Josh] and his friends to get back to real business of sledding in a hurry, it actually makes sledding fun in both directions.

Keep reading to see a video of the winch in action, and be sure to check out some other fun uses for winches we have featured in the past.

[via Neatorama]


  1. Luke says:

    I was thinking overkill at first, but after seeing the size of that hill it makes perfect sense. Very cool!

  2. dan fruzzetti says:

    About a hundred years ago a device like this was called a Steam Donkey. It was a steam-powered winch which was often hooked up to a tree or other item to either drag stuff toward itself or to drag itself toward the tree.

  3. Ren says:

    Now That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

  4. HARaaM says:


  5. Jonathan says:

    I was thinking just the other day how something like this would be great to have. I don’t live where it snows right now but when I do, I am going to build one of these. When I was a kid we always used to get tired out dragging the old wooden toboggan up the hill at my grandmothers.

  6. Amos says:

    Pretty cool hack. The only way I can see to improve it would be to somehow store the energy of going down the hill and use it to help you go back up, thus removing the gasoline expense. Maybe use a giant coil spring and attach the cable to the back of the sled… the CVT would probably still come in handy, though.

  7. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    “Super winch makes sledding 100% more fun”

    Super winch makes sledding 100% more deadly.

    There is a reason we (mostly) stopped using mules and horses in logging. Same concept. At least dead mans switch it.

  8. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    “The various wires you see zip-tied to the frame are run three separate electrical kill switches that actually stopped the rider fairly quickly.” Need more detail on this.

  9. Pilotgeek says:


    Why such a big focus on safety? Life with risks is fun!

    Here’s how I break it down; if it’s a device that would only injure your dumbass self using it, then I don’t care. If it’s something that can cause serious harm to others, THEN safety is a concern.

  10. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    See, I draw the line at if it could cause ME serious injury then that’s a concern. That’s already above and beyond concern for others.

    If the potential to cause harm or death is high (and I think you will agree that the POTENTIAL is here) then steps need to be taken to minimize that risk. Not eliminate it, that’s not possible. But minimize it. Life without significant, glaring risks is just as fun.

  11. Lucienz says:

    Ahhh Hack a Day, if it moves its deadly and if it flys its illegal…you’re the fearful anal retentive parents I never had.

    Seriously though, this is the same thing as a rope tow you see at any ski area. It has redundant kill switches and you can let go if anything goes wrong.
    Only difference is that is portable, hand built and thus cooler.

  12. snowboarderbrodude says:

    could you explain more in depth why this is dangerous
    i was gonna make a tow rope for a group of snowboarders that made a diy terrain park, but now i don’t know…

    also, does anyone know some nice plans on the net for diy towropes

  13. ehrichweiss says:

    @CutThroughStuffGuy: I see the LOWEST of potential for harm with this; like to the degree that you’d have to be a complete retard to get hurt. Perhaps you think it’s turbocharged or something?

  14. Valen says:

    comes with safety switch
    called let go of the handles.

    seems to be safer than your average t bar ski lift.

  15. Volkemon says:

    I had a LONG sled run in Vermont, and would have loved this. With proper snowfall, we used to jump a 2 lane road and the 4′ barbed wire fence on the downhill side to add the run down the cow pasture to the river.

    Getting hurt from a winch? I can say with cetainty that the risk of injury is MUCH greater sledding down the trails, headfirst at speed. But oh so much fun.

  16. Paul says:

    Just a fun variant of a ski lift, but winter seems to be over here in europe.

  17. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    If you snag on something then your limbs are the only thing connecting said snag to this 8 hp machine. That goes from “helpfully pulling you up the hill” to “ripping your limbs off”. In about 500 milliseconds. That’s the issue I have with this.

  18. Ryan says:

    @CutThroughStuffGuy: I can understand your concern, however, perhaps it could simply be configured so that you have to consciously hold on, that way you could easily let go. It didn’t look like much of a risk to get snagged on the hill in the video anyway.

  19. hatetosay says:

    I hate to say it but CutThroughStuffGuy has thought of a nonobvious hazard which is very real. An inability to let go or an unexpected erganomics crisis could make this a finger eating machine at the least.

    Overdramatic in light of rope tows present in recreational snow parks? Perhaps, but those are generally manned by an operator who can kill the power.

    The hack is brilliant and delivers on a fantasy from my youth. The safety concerns make room for minor improvement in the form of a slip clutch or breakaway straps.

    If you’re not paying attention, by the time you feel your hand getting pulled in to a pulley, it’s already too late. The only protection at that point is slack rope tension, rope stretch or a stalled motor, and 8hp isn’t going to slow down over fingers.

  20. Doug says:

    Sometime in the pas either popular science or popular mechanics had a project similar to this.. Knowing a man who was horribly injured when he got entangled in a captain winch in the oil field, my first thought was what means was employed here to prevent a similar accident. Anyway if I where faced with a 35-45 hike back up a hill I wouldn’t say no hooking on the line

  21. Tom says:

    Ummm, as noted above, the act of going down seems more dangerous than the cable. A friend of mine broke his spine on a ski slope, it’s a minor miracle that he’s able to walk today. The security built into this is good enough for me.

  22. Brian says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 97,541 other followers