How to Build a Sled From a Pair of Old Skis and a Wheelbarrow
Attach a wheelbarrow bucket to an old pair of skis to make a custom sled to hit the slopes in style.
If there is one snow sport that everyone can enjoy, it's sledding. Age, experience and skill level are never questioned, and the only requirement is that you have a good time.
Snow-sled technology has evolved from the iconic wood-and-steel runners to today's slick plastic discs. Just because there haven’t been many innovations doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with building your own sled. If you’ve got a pair of old skis that are just collecting dust in your closet, you’ve got the makings of a DIY ski sled. This project is highly customizable; use the materials you have on hand.
Materials and Tools
- wheelbarrow bucket – Use an old one or you can buy one at a home improvement store.
- skis – We used kid-length skis (about 5') but you can cut down a pair of adult skis to desired length.
- braided polyester rope
- 2x4 at least 4’ long cut into 5" pieces (risers)
- 2' x 2' 3/4”-thick piece of plywood
- 3-1/2" galvanized deck screws
- 5/16 bolts, locking washers and nuts (if wheelbarrow hardware not available)
- measuring tape
- cordless drill/driver
- oscillating tool with metal blade or hand saw with metal blade
- safety glasses
Part of the joy of building this ski sled is that you’ll be upcycling used skis and possibly a worn-out wheelbarrow. You can find used skis at most thrift stores as well as Craigslist. We decided to use kid-sized skis, as they were the perfect length for this project (5 feet).
Remove Bindings From Skis
If your skis still have the bindings attached, remove them using a screwdriver or cordless driver. There are typically four screws holding each binding onto the ski.
Outline the Base
Place the wheelbarrow bucket onto the plywood and trace around the edge of the bottom of the wheelbarrow.
Cut Base and Risers
Using a jigsaw, follow the tracing of the base of the wheelbarrow and cut out your plywood piece. Measure eight 5” pieces of your 2x4 and, using your jigsaw again, cut your 2x4 to create the risers.
Sand Base and Risers
Using sandpaper and sanding block, smooth the edges around your base and risers.
Seal Base and Risers
Use a water sealant to treat the wood risers and base. This will delay the wood from rotting and keep it watertight. Let it dry overnight.
Attach Base to Wheelbarrow
The plywood base serves as a solid foundation to the ski sled. Using the pre-cut holes in your wheelbarrow bucket, mark the plywood below and drill holes, then attach it to the plywood base using your existing wheelbarrow hardware or the correct-sized bolts. Ours were 5/16".
Remove Excess Bolt Length
Using a saw with a metal blade or an oscillating tool, cut down the bolts, leaving about half an inch.
Stack two risers over the holes where the bindings on the skis were attached. Using your deck screws, you can try to tap into the pre-existing holes, but we ended up tapping new holes into the skis, which is probably a stronger bond. Use used 5 screws to attach each set of risers.
Place Bucket Onto Skis
Now it's finally coming together. Place your bucket (seat) onto the skis (runners) and check the alignment of the back of the skis and front of the skis to make sure they are even and straight. If you’d like to control the speed a bit, you can angle the toes of the skis in slightly.
Screw Down Bucket
Attach the bucket to the risers using your deck screws.
Add the Handle
Drill two holes in the front of the bucket and thread your poly rope through them. This will serve as both a handle to hold while riding as well as a way to pull the sled when you are climbing back up the hill.
Hit the Slopes
Sledding is fun, but it can also be a dangerous activity. Use this sled at your own risk; we recommend wearing a helmet. Each time you have finished sledding, check the sled for worn-out parts or cracks in the wood or skis, and make any necessary repairs before using the sled again.