The Sled Builder.
Peter Egli from Conters
As soon as the hay harvest is brought in, the cows are inside their warm stalls and the first snow starts to fall outside, Peter Egli puts on his green apron and disappears into his workshop. It is perfectly furnished, everything in its place. Until a «Gögl» (this is Prättigauer dialect and means «Sled») is ready, Peter needs to complete countless working steps.
First of all, the boards, which have been dried for at least two years, are shaped, shaved and measured. Where does the wood originate from? Of course, Peters sleds are made from local wood, from Ash to be exact. A wood that's well suited for heavy duty use and does not damage in cold and wet conditions.
Additional steps are shaping cones for the legs, drilling holes and connecting all 16 individual pieces of wood with each other. The 75-year-old sled builder has no use for glue. Everything is connected via cones, wedges and a few screws. For each job that needs measuring, Peter uses a stencil. Homemade and nifty, of course. He´s even made a «Gögelbock», an assembly table.
Peter´s hobby have always been handicrafts, patchwork, crafting – It's a nice change from working in the barn and on the fields. And this is why he's also an expert when it comes to the iron parts on his sleds. He manufactures these parts from six meter long iron rods: He cuts, forges, grinds, bends and drills, until everything is a perfect fit.
Last but not least, each sled is covered with a protective lacquer and the name of the future recipient is carved into the ash wood. Such a precious vehicle comes at a price: A sled with a length of 110 centimetres costs 450 francs. But for this price, you receive a true original, made with lots of love.
And where can the new, fancy wooden sled be used? Peter Eglis sled tip: Use the 12 kilometre long sledging run of the Fideriser Heuberge, one of the longest sledging runs in Switzerland. The path from the Madrisa mountain station down to Saas is also a lot of fun, says Peter as he closes up his workshop doors.