Mattresses aren’t just for sleeping

(From left) Kendall Thacker, Mike Luo, RJay Rubio and Mary Dunn ride one of the “Maboggans” down a hill at Rock Canyon Park. (Photo by Whitnie Soelberg)

A new winter activity in Provo has taken root, and it’s not your run-of-the-mill sledding expedition.

Mattress sledding has risen in popularity in Provo since BYU students Kendall Thacker and Mary Dunn started renting out mattresses with specially-designed plastic covers that slide quickly down snowy slopes.

Thacker came up with the idea over Christmas break, when he went mattress sledding with his family using the normal plastic covers that mattresses come with.

“We just had a blast with it. People were there (in the park) and kept asking questions,” Thacker said. “People love this.”

That day, the business was born. By the next week, Thacker had ordered high-density polyethylene plastic and shaped it into sleds. Whereas the store-bought plastic covers had ripped, this plastic would last.

“Its really durable,” said Thacker. “It also has a very low coefficient of friction, so it’s very slippery …  Also, we could heat it up with a heat gun to mold it.”

Two weeks from the day they went mattress sledding for the first time, Thacker and Dunn, a friend of his who liked the idea and now helps with the business aspect of the company, were renting out mattresses and plastic covers they call “maboggans.”

All together, about 150 people have tried the maboggan.

“It’s been spreading through networking,” said Thacker. “Not a single person has gotten seriously hurt. It’s a lot safer than tubing and sledding because the mattress has a wider base and it absorbs all the bumps.”

RJay Rubio, first-time mattress sledder, said the safety makes it more fun.

“There’s a lot of pros to it,” Rubio said. “You go a lot faster … (and) it’s not just by yourself. You can fit as much people as you want. It’s comfortable, so when you hit jumps, it’s a lot better … you get air and it doesn’t hurt,” he said.

Dunn suggested that the popularity of the mattresses also comes from the social and creative aspects.

“You make your own experiences because you get to decide the way you sled,” Dunn said. “If you can think of it you can do it. You kind of create your own sledding experience.”

One of the more common experiences is to see how many can fit on the mattresses. Once, 27 people piled onto three mattresses and successfully slid down.

“We’re wondering if there’s a world record,” she said.

World record or not, as long as there is snow and ice, Provo residents will be able to enjoy three hours of mattress sledding for $20 with Provo Mattress Sledding.

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