One of the highlights of our ski vacation in Whistler, British Columbia was our short but exhilarating ride in a 4-man Olympic bobsled. The track at Whistler has been ranked as the world’s fastest, and riders in Whistler’s public bobsleigh program get to experience 10 turns and speeds of nearly 60 mph.
The staff at Whistler Sliding Center will choose which bobsleigh you’ll ride in and which seat you’ll occupy, so it’s possible that you may be separated from your family/group. The rider in the back of the bobsled has the wildest ride, while the person just behind the driver has the smoothest. But don’t worry—your trip will be fast and furious no matter which seat you’re in!
Our guide explained that when they first opened the Olympic track to novices, the experience was so intense that most riders became physically ill or passed out from the g-force before reaching the bottom. They then moved the starting point lower and lower down the course until they found a spot that worked for the majority of first-time sliders. Even though you’ll begin your run a few turns lower than Olympic athletes do, it’s still a very intense experience that can rattle your body, so be sure to maintain the posture that the guide recommends (which includes holding the straps at all times, and lifting your shoulders up to your ears to prevent your head from hitting the side of the bobsled).
Rider safety is the top priority for Whistler Sliding Center, so be prepared for about an hour long safety presentation and numerous gear checks. The guide will explain how best to brace your body for the intense forces and what to do in the unlikely event of a crash, and our bobsled driver made each rider try on several helmets until she was sure that we had the best fit. We felt totally confident in our driver’s ability to get us safely down the course, and loved participating in this crazy sport!
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