With thick heavy snow falling on 14th December 2011 I waited my turn to whizz down the famous bob sleigh run in La Plagne. Nerves began to tell and I did wonder if my own self-confidence had got the better of me but no, this was a dream come true, and one I was going to enjoy to the full.
Being surrounded by members of the French Les Etoiles du Sport somehow did make the experience a little easier! With Brigitte Gelloz, from the SAP office, and her husband I was to make the descent in a 4 man bob driven by one of the experienced bob-sleigh drivers from the resort.
When I had replied to this fabulous invitation from, Stéphanie Conte, Group Sales Manger for bobsleigh La Plagne, she offered me a choice of 3 types of transport:
• the rather more sedate comfy looking BOB RAFT : auto guided engine, with auto brakes. 4 passengers, 80km/h speed. Perfect for families and friends, minimum age 14
• the MONO BOB: on your own, in a semi lying position, facing the track and descending at 90km/h. The BEST ONE for a great view on the track I was told!
• or the all thrilling high adrenaline rush of the TAXI BOB : Taste a bit of the Olympic flame. With a professional pilot and 3 passengers, feel the maximum speed at 110km/h
Cool Runnings here I come what more could I have dreamed of but being squeezed into a cylindrical metal tube and hurtle down an icy run! So I took the TAXI BOB – not quite the quiet joy of being driven by a London cabbie so where the taxi-bit comes in I am not sure, but certainly as one is being driven I suppose it is sort of the same thing...
Given a full safety briefing we were settled into the bob and then away... wow it is the most amazing adventure and activity I have ever done and am now totally hooked! We reached an overall speed of 115 kph (not quite so normal but the track had just been used for a World Cup event the weekend before so was in tip-top condition). Two thoughts went through my mind – one what if my helmet comes off and the other when can I do it again!
One tip – do remember the safety instructions i.e. do not lean forward (the G force is enough to make you feel very odd) and the other is to keep your shoulders hunched and down so that your head does not bang against the side... Oh and incidentally the publicity photo… I don’t quite remember feeling quite so relaxed and you definitely need the helmet!
Talking with Stephanie after I gather they take many people with a disability or special need and all you need to do is talk with the office to ensure that you are able to do it – probably not suitable for severe disabilities or those with high blood pressure or of a nervous disposition... but go on give it a try!!
The use of the Olympic Bobsleigh Track of La Plagne is divided in two. The Sport side with the training of athletes, Olympic champions and local clubs but also the organization of European and international competitions. The Leisure side with the track opened to the public, from Tuesday to Sunday. Each year between 15000 and 19000 tourists descend the track.
Since 2011, the Olympic Bobsleigh Track is managed by the Tourism Office of La Plagne, the Promoting Office of La Plagne Area and the Council. This gives the Olympic Bobsleigh Track a larger exposure on the market, access to marketing funds and campaigns.
Bruno Mingeon, ex World Champion and currently Coach of the Monaco Team has joined us as a Sports Consultant, in order to develop bobsleigh trainings and competitions in La Plagne.
Piste Olympique de Bobsleigh de La Plagne - www.bobsleigh.net
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