The Whistler Sliding Centre in Whistler, BC is one of just three places in the world where the public can access the same track that Olympic athletes use for the skeleton, bobsleigh and luge events, AND it’s the fastest & steepest track in the world AND it’s the exact same one that was used in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics! Being the adrenaline junkie that I am, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it out while I’m living and working here in Whistler.
Thanks to a locals’ deal, the thought of doing the bobsleigh was a little less scary! We’ve all seen Cool Runnings, which helped put the sport on the map, so to be able to do it in real life was pretty surreal! After a safety briefing and introduction, the drive up to the start seemed to take forever which made me realize just how long and steep the track was…. Arrggghh! The nerves really started to kick in when we go to the start and we met the driver (cue standard ‘this is my first time driving a bobsled’ jokes). But we had no time to think about it, as we got straight into the sled. As the smallest in our group, I sat in the seat behind the driver then my fiancé behind me and our friend at the back. Helmets down, it was time to go….’feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up it’s bobsled time!’
The first few seconds felt quite timid, but it didn’t take long at all to pick up speed round the first corner. The turns on the corners were insane, it’s exactly like you see on the TV with helmets banging everywhere. It was impossible to try see what was happening as soon as you turned your head to look it would be jolted back the other way. We hit speeds of 126km/h!
Now I usually wouldn’t be in that much of a rush to get my next extreme sport fix, but one of our friends had the skeleton experience booked for the following day and unfortunately got injured so I kindly (or stupidly!) stepped in! If I felt nervous for the bobsleigh, I was 10x more nervous for the skeleton, especially as I was 16th in line to go! Thankfully it only takes 30 seconds for each rider so the time passed quickly-ish! My name was called and I stepped onto the skeleton, laid down and there was literally an inch between your head and the ice. It felt like forever waiting for the go ahead to set off, so you’re just laying there looking down and the track thinking, ‘what am I doing?’. I heard the announcer call me name and off I went! ARGGGHHHH, this is the fastest I have ever gone and I have no control over anything right now. A few seconds in and I actually start to love it. Felt G forces a couple of times when going round the fastest corners and managed to go through the finish line without bumping into the sides. It was an incredible, but very surreal 31 seconds and I got to do it all again! This time I was determined to get a faster speed, which I did.
The second run I got to 92.9km/h compared to 91.9 the first time round. My speeds were the lowest of the night, as I realized afterwards that my head and shoulders were too high to get up the top speeds of 96-98km/h. Think I was conscious of my chin hitting the floor too much… but that was more than fast enough for me!
Here’s the video of my skeleton ride:
Both experiences were amazing and so glad I did it – definitely one to tick off the bucket list! The guys at the Sliding Centre are really good and make you feel at ease. It even feels like you’re actually at a competing event with a scoreboard and announcers, saying who is going next and the speeds they are reaching. You get a nice shiny certificate too so you can prove to your friends that you did it!
Highly recommended – an adrenaline rush guaranteed!
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