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Adventure sledding combines love of hiking and adrenaline

Tori Trombley

Sledding: It’s not just for kids! Extreme sledding combines a love of hiking and long descents for Wasatch Back enthusiasts.

As the saying goes, “What goes up must come down,” and for locals who love to adventure sled, that downhill is fast.

The trend has all kinds of names: trail sledding, sled bobbing, adult luging, extreme or adventure sledding. Parkite Tori Trombley refers to it as “Swiss Bobbing,” a nod to the original brand of sleds she used two decades ago when she started.

The premise is easy: Hike a couple of miles up a fairly steep trail or a 4x4 road and then pinball your way down those hairpin turns. Trombley jokes she started a “Swiss Bob Society,” which is really just a group of friends who go a couple of times a week on outings she calls “careless cackling fun.”

Tori Trombley

“I probably take someone new several times a year," she said. "People are like, ‘What is this? I've heard that I should go with you,’ and I respond, ‘Yeah, sign this liability waiver.’ Just kidding. No one ever signs anything but I'm always nervous because they could get hurt. You have to go when the conditions are perfect.”

Those perfect conditions include ample snow coverage and moderate temperatures so the track is soft, not icy. Trombley recommends wearing winter gear including snow pants, boots, a helmet and goggles to avoid branches if navigating narrow trails.

Not all sleds are created equal. There are a few high-performance brands that resemble a child’s booster seat on steroids built for turning and control with grooves for tracking and handles for stability; your heels serve as both brakes and rudders.

Local Swiss Bobbers are reluctant to divulge their favorite hills but commonly-known areas include Daly Canyon, Rob’s Trail, Horsetail Falls, Rock Canyon, Neff’s Canyon, Porter Fork Trailhead and Snake Creek Canyon. Always check the avalanche forecast at www.utahavalanchecenter.org before venturing out.

Tori Trembley

Trombley has nearly a quarter century’s worth of heart-pounding memories that include a near-encounter with a moose, full moon outings and birthday celebrations.

“So it's like this potluck at the top of the hill, which is so fun because it's never discussed beforehand," she said. "It's always just this surprise, which is funny. We did an ugly sweater outing so everyone had to wear an ugly sweater. We had another one where we had to wear the ugliest ski clothes you could find.”

One thing is certain with the Swiss Bob Society: ugly sweater or not, here they come.