The Stiga Snow Racer Black Line is equipped with tow rope, standard seat, brake and steering spring.

Everybody had one growing up, and if you didn’t you really missed out: Just imagine plummeting down an icy slope, hopelessly out of control. You try to turn through a near collision with a rogue pine tree but at these speeds all attempts of changing course are in vain. We are, of course, talking about the genuine snow racer.

Far beyond a simple sled, a snow racer is the pinnacle of downhill sledding equipment. Resembling a kids’ version of a snowmobile, the plastic-and-steel vehicle gives the illusion of manoeuvrability, but is near impossible to steer. An overwhelming majority of these little beasts are manufactured by their original innovator, the Swedish gardening and gaming equipment company Stiga. The name has become virtually synonymous with the product.

Of course the snow racer is no longer just for kids. The big boys are now converting their old racers into more durable and enhanced vehicles for the purpose of huge jumps and cunning tricks. The usual steps involve pimping an old Stiga with a BMX handlebar and cushioned seat. The sport is nowadays mostly known as Snow GT, and a growing number of people all over the world are getting into it, posting hilarious and spectacular YouTube videos of their daredevil tricks.

Like most Protestants, few Finns can be bothered to observe the Christian tradition of Lent over the weeks preceding Easter, but on Shrove Tuesday, the last day of feasting before 40 days of fasting, they head out for a traditional day of downhill sledding. It’s the perfect time to bring out your old Stiga, pimped or not, and take a ride.

16 February is Shrove Tuesday.

Matti Koskinen