Saturday, 6 September 2014

Canada Olympic Park

In 1988 Calgary was host to the Winter Olympics with most of the events taking place in this complex west of the city.

We were here to ride the Luge which is a downhill racing thing best compared to an Alpine Coaster but without the rails where you have the freedom to control both your speed and your steering... in short a thrill ride with a competitive element.

The luges are automatically hooked to the bottom of the cable car that takes you to the top.

Christof looks a little apprehensive. 2 of us in the group are competitive (Tal and Me). The other 2 were unknown quantities.

The luge is 1.8km long and is one of five in the world with one other in Canada (we'd be doing that in the second week), two in New Zealand and one in Singapore which I did when I went there. 

At the top you're given a quick training session, and then you're off to race against Tal who is the dirtiest driver in the group, at one point he tried grabbing hold of my luge in an attempt to slow me down. Fortunately he was off the racing line and had to let go or else he'd hit a chicane barrier. This allowed me to get the win ;)

Here's a great clip that shows the ride off. Now just think of two crazy brits trying their best to take each other out and ignoring the "SLOW" signs; that was our experience.

Having done the Park City bobsleigh run and loved it I floated the suggestion that we do the one in Calgary, but there was little slack in the itinerary to fit it in. Enquiring at the desk there was a space that we could jump into that wouldn't have added any time to the plans so we took it. After signing our life away we were driven up to the top of the hillside for our run. 

The route has 14 turns and hits 4Gs on the most intense bend, and as coaster nerds we love the g-forces. This was the setting of Cool Runnings, the film about the Jamaican bobsleigh team.

Our driver was Jenny Ciochetti who was part of the Canadian Olympic Team at Sochi.

Here's a POV from the driver's perspective, and the ride is amazing. This time I was fortunate enough to get the front seat and I did try to peek over to watch the view as the turns come flying at you. Completely exhilarating and a great way to bring the group closer together - we'd all signed our lives away together.

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