It’s been a fun ride the past four years shredding Buttermilk, Highlands and Smuggler on my trusty old Swiss Bob sled, but wear and tear got the best of it. A crack in the bottom filled the sled with snow and I was forced to go buy another.
But when I went to get another one, I found out the company was sold and no longer offered the Swiss Bob. The Eurosled Swiss Bob Merikan Missile took its place.
I bought it at Aspen Sports with some trepidation, since it wasn’t the Swiss Bob I have come to love on my early-morning descents after a hot hike up the mountain.
The design and aerodynamics are much different than the old Swiss Bob, and I could do without the shazam-style color schemes and graphics like a skull and cross bones. But damn, that sled is fast — way faster than the Swiss Bob. Smuggler has become one giant luge course on the missile.
Weighing in just under three pounds, the American-made, American-designed Merikan Missile is super fast, super smooth, and super solid.
Just tie it around your waist with a dog leash or a bungee cord, and you won’t even know it’s there on the way up. It’s easily maneuverable, just a slight shift to the right or left and the sled moves on a dime. It’s not as easy to steer as the Swiss Bob, but it’ll do just fine. It’s a great ab workout as well, as long as the shifting is coming from your core.
The ridges on the bottom help with control and the molded plastic allows the rider to be three or four inches off the snow, which is a much better design feature than the Swiss Bob.
It’s definitely a “grown-up” sled and a great alternative to buying thousands of dollars worth of equipment in the pursuit of a quick descent.
I tend to hike and sled early in the morning — right after sunrise. It’s a great way to start the day. There’s nothing that puts a smile on my face more than sledding down an empty mountain at mach speed with AC/DC blaring in the headphones, giggling like a child.
Easy to carry and control, the missile is a blast on packed snow — and corduroy if you can make it up and down a ski area before the lifts open.
Perfect conditions for the missile are groomed runs at Buttermilk; the grooves on the bottom of the sled easily mesh with corduroy snow. The Tiehack side of Buttermilk is a bit sketchy because it’s so steep, but it can be conquered on a missile. You can always jump off if you lose control. I recommend using hiking poles to help steer at fast speeds and definitely goggles if you’re bombing Buttermilk, Highlands or, if you dare, Ajax.
If you take it out on Smuggler, beware of the anti-sled people who must be just as agro off the hill as they are on it. They just don’t appreciate sledders whizzing by them, or maybe they’re just jealous. Regardless, use caution around turns because you never know who will be there, in the way. Dogs, on the other hand, love the missile and will try to bite you as you pass by. I always use my feet to slow it down when approaching agro hikers or curious canines.