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Finish line, Lillehammer bob track

Feel the Fear

...a personal view of the Lillehammer bobsleigh run, by Andrew B. Flint

Not for the faint-hearted: ‘extreme’ is the word that comes to mind. The object, pure and simple, is to cover around 1500 m of steep, twisting ice as fast as possible – and survive.

“the only rides more ex- treme are a jet fighter in a dogfight or a rocket launch”

track, bobsleigh is not a sport you can reasonably expect to find down at your local leisure centre. In fact, there’s not a single course in Britain. But of the approximately 20 tracks worldwide, over half are within around two hours flying of London. There are a handful of runs scattered across the Alps, former East Germany, and, bizarrely, pancake-flat Latvia as well. But Lillehammer in Norway makes the ideal weekend choice, with hassle-free access, de facto use of English—very reassuring when last minute safety reminders are shouted out, and a reliably arctic winter.

over 5G’s acceleration, bobsleigh leaves even the mightiest roller-coaster in the dust. The only rides more extreme are a jet fighter in a dogfight or a rocket launch.

Your local track Given the huge costs of constructing a

Olympic Lillehammer Little-known, Lillehammer arrived on the scene as the surprise venue for the 1994



W ant to do something really differ- ent for the weekend? How about bob-sledding down a full length, no- holds-barred Olympic course?

Bobsledding and cousins, luging and skeletoning, offer the fastest way of moving on ice. Not just that, Olympic standards dictate a minimum of 15 sharp turns, giving you a privileged first-hand view of what it’s like to whip through hairpin turns at 90 mph clamped to a vertical wall of ice by centrifugal force alone. (Hint: think spin drier in a deep freeze, except that it’s worse.) Pulling


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