I checked in on Elf Quinton today to see how preparations were coming on Santa’s new sleigh. Believe it or not, Santa flies a new sleigh every year. It is redesigned from the ground up, made to go faster, fly higher and perform better in the many different kinds of places where Santa has to go on Christmas. It is a big, big job that the Research and Development Department at the North Pole works on all year long.
There are many reasons why Santa needs to go faster each year. According to Elf Billy in the Tracking Department, some of it has to do with weather. “When Santa flies in a storm speed is essential. He can out-run a storm or he can just bash his way through it,” Elf Billy explained. “It just depends on the conditions. It takes a powerful sleigh to get through a blizzard or a hurricane or even a heat wave and Santa runs into those every Christmas. Think of it this way, when you drive a car up a hill in the snow you don’t get up that hill by going super slow or by going super fast. You get up that hill by using a steady speed, keeping your momentum going and looking far ahead to see where you are going so you know when to get off the gas. That takes a driver with a lot of skill and a skilled driver requires a vehicle that has all the speed and power under his control at all times. Santa is an excellent driver, perhaps the best sleigh driver in the world.”
Whew. Those elves in R&D and at the Tracking Department sure like to talk about sleighs. I’m kind of a geek myself and don’t know much about sleighs but I did understand what Elf Quinton was explaining about computers on Santa’s new sleigh. “Long ago Santa didn’t have computers on the sleigh and it caused a lot of problems,” Elf Quinton explained. “In cold, snowy places there was a problem with ice build-up on the underbelly and in warm places there was a problem with the sleigh becoming so hot, especially at high speeds, that it would melt all the chocolate Santa was carrying and it created an awful mess. Now we have a computer on board that measures the temperature of every inch of the sleigh. The sleigh is constructed with fluid-filled channels and hypersonic heating elements that either rapidly cool or quickly heat any part of the sleigh at any time we need it. That way, those things that need cold — like chocolate — stays cold and those things requiring heat, like, say, Santa’s cookies, can stay hot.”
The computers on the sleigh do a lot of other things too but much of it is very techical.
The sleigh this year is a brilliant red color with swirling white pin stripes that end in tiny yellow flames. It is very sporty and I think Santa is really going to love what it looks like. It is also a little bigger this year.
Elf Quinton will be test flying the sleigh later today with Donner and Blitzen, two of Santa’s fastest reindeer. He only tests with two reindeer for the first round. Santa will do the same thing when he comes back in to the North Pole on Monday morning for our usual meetings. We’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
— Elf Ernest