Picture of Homemade Dogsled
sled 024.JPG
sled 025.JPG
sled 030.JPG
sled 039.JPG
sled 040.JPG
sled 035.JPG
sled 041.JPG
sled 043.JPG
A fun way to exercise your high-energy dogs in the winter. All you need are old ski's, a metal tube chair, and some ingenuity.

I recently got a second husky dog, and needed a way to train the dogs as a team in a safe and fun way. Skijoring is an option, though I have concerns for the safety of myself and the dogs. I am unable to use traditional x-country trails with dogs (x-country skiers can be highfalutin) thus I have to use the wide network of snowmobile trails. These trails, of course, are trafficked by many motorized sleds, which means I must have very good control of my dogs (and my self) to avoid accidents.

Solution: A kicksled sturdy enough to be pulled by a few dogs and be handled by a 190 Lbs. male. The genesis of this idea came from a fellow Instructabler who had the genius idea of creating a kicksled using old downhill skis with their original bindings. I simply expanded upon his idea.

1 pair Downhill Skis with Bindings ($0.35)
1 Tube Chair (I don't suggest buying one, check your local dumpster)
$25 worth of machine bolts, lock-nuts, washers, screws, eye-bolts, and chain quick links
3' green treated 1"X6" board (mine was warped and thus in a dumpster)
1 16"X24" section of 55 gallon drum (hey, I got one of them out back!)
Some rope and bungee
A pair of Crutches ($0.35)
5' length of 1.05" Pipe (dumpster score)
2 greenhouse Cross Connecters
1 old Tire

The Nitty-Gritty:
The Base
is a pair of downhill skis with planking between them. I started by jigsawing the shape of a downhill ski boot out of the 1"X6" twice (one for each ski) and inserted them into the bindings. Then I ran two 20" lengths of board across, connecting the skis together at the bindings (leaving a gap of 16" between the skis). The tube chair frame, after being disassembled, was wedged between the skis (a convenient width of 16") and mounted with machine bolts and lock-nuts under the boards (fig.1).

The Handle Bars were next. Using the 1.05" pipe, I extended the height of the tube chair by bolting the pipe vertically on either side. I then connected the two pipes with a third length running horizontally and cross connectors. The grips were made using the extension piece at the bottom of the pair of crutches (fig.2) in conjunction with the hand grips. These slide perfectly into either side of the horizontal 1.05" pipe. They fasten using the pre-mounted squeeze stoppers and a couple strategically drilled holes.

The Brake consists of an old tire with screws drilled through it. I first cut the tire using a sawzall with an aggressive metal cutting blade. Modern car tires have an incredible amount of metal in them under the treads. I cut along the side wall and only crossed the tread to cut directly across. I then bolted it the base and ran self-tapping metal screws through it at the other end for grip on the ice (fig.3).

The Foot Holds are very important, they serve the double purpose of gripping your feet to the sled for steering and keeping them out of the snow to reduce drag. I used the last of the green treated lumber to trace and jigsaw the shape of my feet. I then counter sunk the holes that would hold the lock-nuts into the footprints. Then I did the same thing on the bottom of both skis for the ends of the bolts and washers. They would then be flush on both sides, as to not create drag on the bottom of the ski, or get hung up on my boots. I was forced to cut off the tip of the foot holds in order to accommodate the opening of the bindings (these are weird bindings that have to flip backwards to open) in case I were to hit a tree or rock and throw a ski. Lastly, I covered the top with metal mesh and stapled it on to provide ample grip.

The Undercarriage keeps snow from accumulating on top of the sled and provides lift over berms. I began by cutting the shape I needed out of a 55 gallon barrel. Using a heat gun, I was able to flatten the rear section, but left the front curved. I then mounted it to the bottom of the base with deck screws and washers.

Update: After a good waxing, the sled rides like a dream. It torques enough for good handling on corners, but is rigid enough to ride safely. Both my dogs and I love it. I used the removable hand grips as a portable repair kit, in the event of a breakdown on the trail. I mounted  an external frame backpack to the vertical frame to carry various ropes and supplies and keep them out of the snow. I also hung a small trail-axe from the side for the sake of tradition. The sled rides well on packed trails and roads, but does not handle any significant amounts of snow (greater than 2 inches). The next version will involve wheels in addition to skis and will have a ski base the same width as a snowmobile's to make riding in sled tracks a no-brainer. It could also be lighter; still figuring out how to shed a few pounds.

I'll be happy to field any questions, and thanks for reading
Justa Jakobi made it!1 month ago

Henge, I love your design, and it helped me tremendously when I made this.

Thanks for all the help!

bethmwl1 year ago

How do I vote? I don't see a button. Love your idea, btw.

Henge (author)  bethmwl1 year ago


Forgot that was still on there. I updated my conclusion slightly. I won second prize in the Redneck competition last year, but thanks for your potential vote. Keep me in mind for the next one I enter.

corey_na181 year ago
I think I have everything to make it now except for those metal pieces that hold the pipes together. Do you just get those at any hardware store?
Henge (author)  corey_na181 year ago
Do you mean the greenhouse Cross Connecters? I purchased those from I have used large hose clamps before for that purpose, but the aluminum cross connecters are super strong.
corey_na181 year ago
To turn do you just put more pressure on one side of this sled?
Henge (author)  corey_na181 year ago
The top frame of the sled is flexible, so turning involves slightly twisting the frame and putting pressure on one of the skis (sometimes shifting all of my bodyweight over on a dramatic turn). On very sharp turns, I have to hop off and drag the sled.
milesnorth1 year ago
This looks great. I live in Alaska and I kicksled with my dog. Been thinking of trying to figure out a rig for summer pulling. A dog cart for a couple of sled dogs I know that really need to get out. This has given me some ideas thanks.
I love the huskys
zowi4202 years ago
this is the coolest thing i've ever seen, there were some crutches at the recycle center the last time i was there, hope they're still there tomorrow...and a use for all those straight skis lying around. Awesome! Thank you!
Lt.Greg2 years ago
"Ibble" fans - if you like this one (and I think its dandy) you MUST find and watch the PBS special "Alone in the Wilderness" about Dick Proeneke who lived in the AK wilderness for nearly 30 years, and - Quite literally - BUILT his entire environment from the things he found there. (Of course he brought in tools first, HAND tools, which he took in sand handles to save weight, and made tho handles too! He makes a wood carting sled similar to how this one is made (OK, kind of similar) which I am certain all the Ibble people will find fantastic! The tape and book are SO interesting I bought them for my then 10 YO nephew so he could see what REAL self-reliance once looked like! I think those here probably embody THAT spirit more than most people alive today!
Cheers -,
static Lt.Greg2 years ago
I hadn't made a real effort to find the PBS program, but a quick search using Dick Proeneke at youtube brings up several videos , but the PBS program is there, but I saving looking for that another day. Thanks for the tip.
Henge (author)  static2 years ago
I'm pretty sure it's "alone in the wilderness". I'm not sure what that has to do with my dogsled, the guys in alaskan wilderness, not dumpster-diving in northern minnesota. I guess all us northerners look alike, eh? And as for self-reliance, make sure to note the help Dick has from his neighbor as far as clearing and processing all his logs for his cabin and firewood. None of us are truely self-reliant. 'Cheers'
Lt.Greg Henge2 years ago
In the first place, Bub- I never said I thought "all you northerners looked alike". I try to be nice, and I would never make such an ignorant statement - especially to someone I don 't know, and whose contribution I thought was really clever.

And in the second place - excuse the heck out of me for trying to be complementary,(I said I thought your sled was a dandy, and i certainly don 't have the skills to build something like that!) and add something interesting to the discussion. After all, it's been my experience that MOST of the folks here are appreciative of complements, interested in learning new things, and enjoy hearing about similar things that are in the same idea as their ibles.

Perhaps you might want to be a bit more careful about what you remove from dumpsters in the future. I'm sure it was unintended, but you seem to have accidentally gotten a negative attitude along with your sled parts.
Merry Christmas!
Henge (author)  Lt.Greg2 years ago
I assumed 'dandy' to be an insult.
Lt.Greg Henge2 years ago
"Insult"???? Good lord, son! 29 ain't THAT young, that you couldn't not have heard that term used before! Really? Seems like one of us is REALLY out of touch with the language! I HOPE it isn't me - but more and more these days people your age you haven't the first clue what I'm talking about! I have a feeling that either I'm really old, or they just aren't teaching much in English class these days! (And No - you are NOT allowed to answer that with a witty comment about how I'm over the hill!) LOL!

Peace! and keep making those cool sleds! Better yet - TEACH a kid how to make one and pass on your knowledge and skill!
AmyLuthien2 years ago
OMG my dogs would have so much fun with this!! Me . . . well maybe not so much :D
Chadifornia2 years ago
Nice work, Ive been thinking about doing something with old skis. Thanks for the idea.
bajablue2 years ago
ardnon2 years ago
nice job. I built one a out of wood and old XC skis a couple years ago for a friend. The only thing I wish had done was to bend the skis to arc down instead of up so that it would turn easier. How do the downhill skis work for turning? I love your brake idea!
Henge (author)  ardnon2 years ago
I suppose I didn't even mention this in the instructable, but I dulled the edges of the skis will an angle-grinder. That was to protect the dogs and also to help in cornering (I think the edge would cut to much on corners). The turning aspect has to do with the flexiblilty of the sled more than the shape of the skis. As you can see on the first photo, the skis can bend almost independently, allowing for farily sharp conrnering. You just ride on your 'inside' foot and pull up on the ski tips. Thanks for the comment and question.
Henge (author)  Henge2 years ago
Do you have any ideas to safe guard? Perhaps something on the frame to deflect obstacles?
RainDog072 years ago
As a former musher, I like the concept but there a a couple of things that may cause problems. (1) There is no brush bow. Eventually you will end up with a tree between the skis and then (2) the metal will bend and render the sled unusable. I broke a sled big time by not taking a corner properly and hitting a tree and I keep the handlebar from the wreckage in my shop as a reminder to myself that I should not get cocky. I agree with you about the X-C skiers. I never dressed in bright colors and talked about kilometers, I just threw on some warm stuff and harnessed the dogs and took a look over the next hill. This one gets my vote.
Henge (author)  RainDog072 years ago
Thanks for the comment and your vote. I suppose if I put this sled in a tree, I'll have a few problems as well as an unsleddable sled. I'm not sure if I mentioned, but the skis pop off in the event of an accident, which I suspect will be an added safeguard (though I haven't had it happen yet).
KryptoTSD2 years ago
That looks like it should work. Just gotta build it, and get some Huskies to train, and try it out...
kyserrolls2 years ago
I was inspired, and started making one at home! Awesome!
SWV17872 years ago
I would like to see more "gross" shots that take in the entire sled. some of your photos are too zoomed in for me to get a good idea of your overall project.
Henge (author)  SWV17872 years ago
how's this one?
SWV1787 Henge2 years ago
That looks amazing. I imagine it is really light. How does it handle over the trails?
meranyrae2 years ago
Love this! Thanks for sharing.
IdahoDavid2 years ago
An elegant design.