Der Davoser Schlitten – Die Geschichte des holzigen Kult-Schlittens - NIKIN EU

The Davos Sleigh – The history of the wooden cult sleigh

The Davos sleigh is cult in Switzerland - but this form of sleigh has also long been a classic internationally. Of course there are different types of sledges, but the Davos sleigh is number one for fans of a leisurely experience of nature. In this blog we present the history of Davos and some thoughts on sustainability in its care.

History of the Davos sleigh

What is now an integral part of the wintry Swiss Alps has not been around for very long. The wooden sleigh from Davos was only developed towards the end of the 19th century. century. The model was wooden sledges that were imported from Norway and slightly modified. The world's first international sledding competition took place in Davos in 1883. The race track started at the “Grüenbödeli” (Green Bödeli) and ran along the snow-covered road to Klosters. With this first race, the “Davos Toboggan Club” (Davos Sledge Club) was born.

NIKIN Blog | Archivbild Davoser Schlitten
Image: Tobogganing was a popular leisure activity from early on - like here around 1890. Credits: Davos Documentation Library

Construction: the sleigh made of wood

Today the cult sleigh is made of beech or ash wood and two metal-clad wooden runners. The length varies between 80 and 130 centimeters. You don't necessarily have to travel alone on a Davos sleigh; it can accommodate up to three people. Thanks to the easy steering and speed, driving a 'Davoser' can be learned quickly.

Differences between the Davoser and the Toboggan

The Davos sleigh is not a support for fans of high speeds. To do this, you use a toboggan, whose design with inwardly inclined runners provides more speed. The design of the toboggan also allows you to lean backwards for more aerodynamic travel. Because of these speed advantages, sled races are now contested on toboggans. The Davos sleigh, on the other hand, allows you to leisurely immerse yourself in the surrounding natural landscape. So if you want to experience comfortable moments in the snow and enjoy nature while sledding, you're better off using the Davoser.

NIKIN Blog | Archivbild Davoser Schlitten
Image: Cozy fun for the whole family – including pets. Credits: Davos Documentation Library

Enjoy nature and have fun

Even the little ones quickly get the hang of leisurely tobogganing on the “Davoser”. Thanks to the opportunity to enjoy nature, these traditional wooden sledges are ideal for family trips, togetherness and quiet moments in the snow. For example, sledding on a Davos sleigh across a blanket of snow illuminated by the full moon is one of the unforgettable moments that you will remember for a lifetime.

Kinder auf dem Davoserschlitten mit Kindersitz für Davoserschlitten | NIKIN Blog
Image: Even the smallest family members can sit on the Davos sleigh.

So the sled runs like clockwork

The robust wooden sledges require very little maintenance. This is ensured by the use of high-quality wood such as ash or beech, which are considered very durable and weather-resistant. The fittings on the runners can also withstand a lot - the metal protects the wood underneath from damage when it comes into contact with stones or roots and increases gliding ability. In order for this to be maintained, the runners not only have to be rusted and polished, but also waxed.

Sustainability in care and maintenance

Commercial wax is usually made from petroleum-based substances. However, these not only stick to the sled, but are rubbed off on the snow. This is how they end up in nature and ultimately in the groundwater, which should of course be avoided as much as possible. But there are also natural wax alternatives. A sustainable wax for sleigh runners is, for example, real beeswax or a plant-based wax. You can simply take a beeswax candle and apply a very thin layer of wax. This way you protect nature and can have fun in the snowy landscape with a clear conscience.

NIKIN Blog | Davoser Schlitten in Aktion
Image: To focus on braking instead of running, you can prepare the sled with (sustainable!) wax.

We at NIKIN not only strive for the smallest possible negative impact on the environment, for example by producing in Europe and thus keeping supply chains short, but we also want to have a positive impact. That's why we plant a tree for every product sold. If you are still looking for the right warm sledding clothing, then take a look at our online shop and plant trees with your order. Together we make the world greener – #treebytree!

Cover photo: Maxime Burri / @maxime.burri
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