If you're feeling "the need for speed," you'll definitely enjoy bobsledding. Where else can you can go as fast as you can go and still have your body on the ground. Combine that with mind-bending curves and more of an adrenaline rush than you can probably tolerate and you've got one of the highest exhiliration per second activites in sport. It's no wonder the sport has grown from one where only Olympic atheletes had access to the facilities and equipment, to now having everything needed for the "Average Joes" to enjoy the sport.
Bob sledding is a timed winter sport where teams of two to four participants use gravity-powered sleds to race through narrow, twisting ice tracks to garner the best times for their efforts. When the events are completed, each team's total times are calculated to determine the winner.Interestingly, bob sledding is evolved from the toboggans and sleds used by delivery boys in Switzerland. Eventually, craftsmen redesigned these vehicles as means of transportation for wealthy passengers, and these eventually became a racing sport. It became so popular, in fact, that it was banned from roads to ensure the safety of pedestrians.In 1904, a wealthy hotelier family named Badruss contracted with a builder to construct the first "half-pipe" track to be used located on the grounds of their hotel in the village of Cresta, which has hosted Olympic tournaments ever since.
As technology and materials used have improved, the sport of bob sledding has evolved. Tracks, which were at first wooden framed and coated with ice, are now mostly concrete covered with ice. Sleds that were primarily wooden with steel runners, are now made of ultralight metals with steel runners and an aerodynamic body. Strangely enough, sleds are made to be as heavy as possible to make them achieve the fastest speeds possible.
The crew of each sled is composed of a pilot and a brakeman. With four-man crews, there are two additional "pushers," all of whom push the sled from the starting line until it gains speed, at which time they all jump onto the sled at their respective positions. The modern track is from 1,200 to 1,300 meters long and has at least 15 curves. Speeds routinely reach at least 75 mph.
If bob sledding doesn't cure your "need for speed," nothing else will. Bob sledding is definitely for those who love thrills, but not for the faint of heart.