News

You Can Sled Nearly 2,000Ft Down This Active Volcano at 60MPH

On the broad spectrum of intensely fun, death-defying, globe-trotting antics, sledding down the side of a volcano has to rank somewhere between braving the world's highest cliff jump and plunging down an illegal waterslide. Nonetheless, one such sledding path exists on Cerro Negro, an active volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range of Nicaragua, and people dare to plummet down it all the time. 

Located about six miles from the nearest town, the (mostly) perfectly safe sport has become a popular attraction for extreme sledders and snowboarders who choose not snow, but volcanic rock, as their powder of choice. It begins with a hike that takes about an hour to the top of Cerro Negro, a volcano 2,388 feet high. The peak is actually the youngest volcano in Central America, having only appeared after its first dramatic eruption in April of 1850. From the top, sledders or snowboarders typically don a protective one-piece jumpsuit and other gear before taking off down the side. The route down is about 600 meters, or just under 2,000 feet. The "sleds" are really just special wooden boards with ropes attached to them to help you kinda-sorta steer your way down a path along the face of the cinder cone volcano.

The volcanic pebbles along the path are small enough that the lack of friction allows sledders to hit speeds up to 60mph before slowing down or falling off -- and there are tons of videos (just like the clips above) of folks wiping out. Then again, it wouldn't be an extreme sport if there weren't wipeouts.

Just keep in mind: Cerro Negro is an active volcano that's erupted 23 times since 1850. Its last eruption was in 1999, and countless visitors since then have braved the volcanic sledding route, but it's not for the faint of heart or constitution.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Eric Vilas-Boas is a writer at Thrillist and runs the animation website The Dot and Line. Follow him on Twitter: @e_vb_