What’s the Deal?
Try one of the fastest winter sports – in the summer.
Where’s it at?
Careening down an ice-covered track at highway speeds might seem foolhardy and the realm of buff, spandex-suited athletes. But the bobsleigh has been an Olympic winter sport since 1924 and has all the thrills of a giant gravity-fed roller coaster.
Head to Lake Placid, in Upstate New York, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games, and try a summer bobsleigh experience on the 1980 track, one of the sport’s classic runs ( whiteface.com/summer/activities/bob.php). The five-person sleds are the same as those used in the winter, with the steel runners removed and replaced with wheels. A pro driver and brakeman take up the first and last positions and your group squishes in the middle. As the sled accelerates, you’ll feel the rumble rush through your body as you climb high on the banks. The run lasts up to 50 seconds and you’ll reach speeds in excess of 80 kilometres an hour and several Gs as you twist and weave your way down the tortuous track.
When the run is finished, shake hands with your crew, pose for a photo and accept your official membership into the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
Who’s it for?
Those who like speed, gravity and have dreams of Olympic glory. A summer bobsleigh experience at Lake Placid costs $70 (U.S.) for adults and $60 for children age 7 to 12. Or, try Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park, site of the 1988 Winter Games, where summer bobsleigh rides are $69 (ages 14 and above). winsportcanada.ca/cop/activities/summerbobsleigh.cfm
Special to The Globe and Mail