FIRST ALERT WEATHER SPECIAL: Science of the sled

(WBAY) - Let's say we're deep into winter and there is plenty of snow on the ground, and you up want take to the sledding. Before you go, let me help you out with a little insider knowledge on the physics of the perfect sled.

Here's a hint: It's all about friction.

Friction is a force we talk about in physics that can cause a sled to slow down or, in the absence of friction, go really fast!

So, if you've just received several inches of the white fluffy kind, you'll want to opt for something like this a snow tube. The reason is that these types of sleds will float above the snow where the level of friction is pretty low, allowing for maximum velocity.

If, however, you want a good all around sled, something that will work in all snow types, pick a broad, flat-bottomed sled. It will slide well over the wet snow without slowing down too much due to friction.

Most of the time, the snow is too soft for those old school, wooden sleds with metal runners. When snow is too deep, the friction will be so strong it might bring you to a stop midway down the hill. But, if you have hard packed, icy conditions, your grandpa's old Yankee Clipper is your sled! Think the luge in the Olympics.