On the long drive home from the Toy Fair in Manhattan I made a mental list of which products I’d like to write about. I’d seen many new toys and games and had a bag full of press kits and business cards. But which should I write about first?
The answer actually came fairly easily – the one product that had been handed to me, in a small booth at the fair, with a promise that my kids would love it. I’d seen this crazy looking plastic thing from a distance and my curiosity drove me straight toward it. When I got up close I saw pictures that led me to believe it was some kind of sled. In fact, it was called a Zipfy sled.
I explained to the polite lad working the booth that we went through sleds in my family like they were disposable, one time use products. I have three teens, and one almost- teen. Three of them are boys. Boys who thrive on adventure and build ramps and jumps for anything they can ride, including sleds. The regular plastic sled doesn’t last long in our house and the one that’s the ‘least broken’ is the one they all fight over.
Seeing the desperation and doubt in my eyes, the sales rep didn’t hesitate to walk behind their booth and produce a sample of his product. I thought he was going to show me what it looked like, but he was much kinder than that. He said, “Here. Try this one. I think you’ll be surprised.”
So for the rest of the Toy Fair I hauled around my big bag for press kits… and my new sled. I really should have handed out business cards for the company, with as many second glances and questions I received about my uniquely shaped item. I couldn’t wait to get home and let the boys loose with it.
We have plenty of snow in Upstate New York. Our personal sledding hill is right outside our mud room door. Within 24 hours of returning home my youngest was suited up and headed out to try it. It was an instant hit.
The only drawback was that it worked so well on the small hill outside our door, we were anxious to give it a try on a much bigger slope (we’re taking it to the slopes the next time we go skiing). That’s not to say we didn’t have a great time, going up and down our smaller hill, for the good part of two hours. My son created a jump and was thrilled with how easy the Zipfy handled on it. It gave him a fast, consistent ride every single time.
The real praise comes when I say I tried it myself. I love a good sled run. But I have a prosthetic leg with a metal foot (that doesn’t do well on the steep hikes back up the hill), so I don’t often join the kids on sledding adventures. But this one I just had to try. To my son’s great amusement, I climbed on the thing and had a thrill all my own. And the best part? The walk up the hill was made easier by the light weight of the sled and it’s easy carrying handle.
The Zipfy website has good information, but the real treasure, that will make you wonder how you ever used an old style sled for so many years, is the fan site. There are amazing photos and videos there, that show people all over the globe, putting this little piece of plastic to the test and having a ball doing it.
My kids were impressed by the video of teens riding their Zipfys down ski slopes, and over ski jumps. The footage of kids doing flips and riding rails with them were a huge hit too. There’s plenty of snow left this season and I may just have to break down and buy a few more of these things to fill our family mud room.
After all, I think we may be way too spoiled now. Arguing over which of our old plastic sleds is the ‘least broken’ has stopped. Now we’re arguing over who gets to use the Zipfy next.
Side note: There’s an adorable preschooler version of the Zipfy, for little sledders who want to have a fun, controlled sledding experience and then be able to carry their own sled up the hill afterward.