In Seattle, we rarely get snow. We get lots of snow in the Cascades, but not much in town. But it started snowing this week in Seattle and my son Benjamin couldn’t be happier since there have been three days off from school. Yesterday it really came down, at least for Seattle, and we got about six inches of snow. We had lost our sled since the last snow day, so Ben and I set out to get a new one at our neighborhood hardware store. Imagine how happy I was to discover that not one, but both sledding contraptions on offer were made in the U.S.
Ben purchased a Flexible Flyer Winter Lightning sled.
Flexible Flyer offers a huge range of saucers, sleds, foam sliders, inflatables, wood sleighs, toddler sleighs, classic sleds, snow toys, snowboards, toboggans, utility sleds and other products for having a great day in the snow. The Flexible Flyer brand is owned by Paricon LLC and Paricon has an interesting history. Henry Morton founded the firm that is now Paricon in 1861 in South Paris, Maine. Henry manufactured sleds in his house by hand and his bride Lucilla decorated them. It was really a family affair because their son Will, an accomplished artist, also painted the sleds with individual designs that ensured that each child had his own one of a kind sled. Those one of a kind sled designs probably helped prevent fisticuffs at the end of day of sledding to over whose sled was whose!
Paricon is a family firm. Current Paricon CEO Hank Morton is the great-grandson of Henry Morton. Hank’s two sons, Ted and Tom, now run this family firm along with their Dad. But things might have turned out differently. In the 1970s, Paricon was sold to Gladding Corporation. Thankfully, in 1978 Hank headed a group of investors that purchased the company back from Gladding, returning it to family ownership. Another great fact about the Morton family’s sled making prowess; Henry Morton’s original firm, Paris Manufacturing Co. (the forerunner to Paricon), supplied the sledges for both the Admiral Peary Expedition to the North Pole and a follow-up expedition by Donald MacMillan in 1914! I could be wrong, but I would think you would want to have absolutely the best sled you could buy when you are heading to the North Pole.
My neighbor Rod asked me to pick up a sliding disk for his children, so when I was at the hardware store I grabbed a SnoRacer Disk. The SnoRacer Disk is made by EMSCO. All EMSCO hard sleds, disks and toboggans are made by EMSCO at their plant in Girard, Pennsylvania.
Sledding in the snow is a great time. I have fond memories of it from my childhood, which was a very long time ago. Our sleds were made out of hollowed out tree trunks, not plastic. Still, the Flexible Flyer White Lightning and EMSCO SnoRacer Disk we bought yesterday are a lot easier to haul up the hill than our old tree trunk sleds. And fewer splinters.