IT IS 60 SECONDS of sleighing that would make anyone appreciate physics. When Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park opens its sliding track to the public each year from December to mid-March, riders reach highway speeds in metal tubes and experience more G-forces than astronauts launching into space. Here’s a look at some of the hairraising moments of the bobsleigh ride.
A professional driver takes the front seat. These sleighs are specially made for public bobsleigh sessions, so the brakes are at the front of the sleigh instead of the back. Riders choose their spots based on school bus logic: the farther from the driver, the rougher the ride. And no bulky clothing or large boots — these sleighs are known for their speed, not spaciousness.
Track by Numbers
53.16 seconds is the track record for four-man bobsleigh
1,475 metres from start to finish
14 curves (eight left and six right)
121.2 metres of vertical drop
100 kilometres of refrigeration pipe
1,100 tonnes of coolant
Take an iconic winter scene to the next level by skating against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you fancy a game of shinny or a leisurely glide, there’s no shortage of playgrounds. Among your options is the 1.2-kilometre groomed loop at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, or skating around the ice castle on the rink next to Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The castle is spot-lit so you can keep gliding well after sunset.
Want to feel rugged and resourceful without the frostbite? Adventure Ice Fishing’s overnight huts on Gull Lake, just west of Lacombe, Alta., offer fishing gear, sleeping accommodation and an underwater camera to help you lure the pike, perch and walleye. You can even fry up your catch on-site. If Man vs. Wild is more your style, hike or snowmobile into the backcountry of Lakeland Provincial Park, where you’ll find some of the best ice fishing the province has to offer on Blackett and Helena lakes.
VIDEO: Bobsleighing and zip-lining in Calgary Tourists enjoy adrenaline-pumping activities at Canada Olympic Park