Peter Egli from Prättigau.

The Sled Builder

The Prättigau Sled Builder Peter Egli
Conters, a small mountain village in Prättigau. The community has a mere 234 residents – and one of them is Peter Egli. His profession: Farmer. And sled builder.
Peter Egli from Conters in Prättigau at work

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.

Peter Egli from Conters in Prättigau at work

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.

Peter Egli from Conters in Prättigau at work

Additional steps are shaping cones for the legs, drilling holes and connecting all 16 individual pieces of wood with each other. The 64-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 Egli from Conters in Prättigau at work

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.

Peter Egli from Conters in Prättigau at work

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 420 francs. But for this price, you receive a true original, made with lots of love.

Peter Egli from Conters in Prättigau at work

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.