Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be an Olympian for a day? When you bobsled in Whistler at the Sliding Centre, you’ll get to fulfill that dream. Imagine the thrill of speeding down the track just like the Olympic athletes of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
With former world-class bobsled drivers at the helm, we had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shoot down the fastest Bobsled track in the world reaching speeds of 125 km per hour.
What it’s Like to Bobsled in Whistler
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You don’t need to have any experience or training. All you need is just a little bit of guts and a zest for adventure. We arrived at the Whistler Sliding Centre with eager anticipation for the ride ahead. We didn’t quite know what to expect and had visions of falling down while trying to jump into the bobsled at the start of the course.
As we quickly found out during our half hour briefing session, we weren’t going to be running along while pushing the bobsled at the start of the track. It would be impossible for amateurs to successfully squeeze four large bodies into this tiny coffin like tomb. So instead, they had us sit inside the bobsleigh one by one in an orderly fashion before having a staff of two people push for us.
The Whistler Bobsleigh is on a Professional Track
The Whistler bobsled track isn’t a makeshift bobsleigh course designed for tourists. There are no tracks holding the sled on course to make it slow or easy, it’s an actual Olympic bobsleigh track made of ice.
Our bobsled was made of fiber glass and smoothed to perfect to allow optimal glide. We whizzed down a winding course for 45 seconds of pure adrenaline.
It’s a far cry from our Jamaican Bobsledding experience, but we were reminded of it when we found out that Pat Brown, the coach of the Jamaican Bobsled Team of 1988 is one of the drivers at the Sliding Centre. That story went on to be featured in the movie Cool Runnings starring John Candy.
About the Whistler Sliding Centre
The Whistler sliding centre is one of only 15 competition sliding tracks in the world. Olympic athletes train and prepare on the Whistler bobsled track on a daily basis during the winter months. However, for a couple of hours each day, the Whistler Sliding Centre closes down for training and opens up to the public.
You have your choice of skeleton or bobsleigh and anyone over the age of 18 and in good physical condition can take part. We arrived just as the public skeleton was finishing and needless to say, it looked a bit intimidating. The skeleton doesn’t reach the speeds that the bobsled does, but you are on your own and there is nothing between you and the ice but your winter coat and a helmet!
Briefing and Preparations
We had a short briefing after signing our lives away letting us know what to expect on the track. They stressed to us that it is important to keep your head in an upright position when taking off. And we were warned to sit back and hold on tight.
If we made the mistake of putting our head forward, we’d be stuck hunched over the entire ride as the g-forces would keep our down and we’d miss seeing all the fun.
After our briefing and gathering up our helmets, we took a short shuttle to the start of the course. The public bobsleigh only uses 1/3 of the course compared to what the professionals do, but that’s all you need. I made sure to take a strong stance with my head up while leaning back. I didn’t want to have my head shoved down to the floor of the sled for the next minute of my life.
What Does it Feel Like to Bobsleigh in Whistler
The experience of bobsledding in Whistler was amazing. Once you push off, it takes a couple of seconds to accelerate giving us the chance to settle in. But after we rounded the first bend, we were sliding full-tilt boogie and you could instantly feel the pressure on your helmet. It felt as if a solid concrete block was pushing down on my head forcing you into the seat.
By the time we hit the 10th and final bend of the course, we had reached our fastest speed. It turns out that our team had the fastest time of the day reaching an impressive 126 km per hour. We had the gold medal performance!
Dave’s team was a distant 8th but like all bobsledding races, the distance is measured by mear nanoseconds. He was less than a second behind us!
Our Whistler Bobsleigh video
I love this video because it gives a great point of view of the Whistler bobsled experience. It’s fast and exciting! If you are looking for something unique to do in Whistler and you love a touch of adrenaline, we highly recommend trying out the Whistler Bobsled experience. The Whistler Sliding Centre runs in winter and summer and in the summer you can also try your hand at the luge.
To find out more about the Public Bobsled Experience, visit the Whistler Sliding Centre Website cost is $159 per person and to order a video it is $20
Where to Stay in Whistler
If you are visiting Whistler, we recommend staying in Whistler village. If you plan on doing a lot of skiing or snowboarding, a ski in ski out hotel is our hotel of choice. Look for ski lockers and keep it a short distance from Whistler or Blackcomb mountains.
Here are a few of our favourite hotels in Whistler.
- The Pan Pacific Whistler Mountain is a superb location with ski storage, underground parking and chalet-style rooms.
- Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort – We love Fairmont resorts. The luxury hotel brand is owned and operated by Canadians. Located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, it’s Whistler’s landmark ski in ski out hotel.
- The Westin Resort and Spa – We loved our stay at the Westin in the heart of Whistler Village.
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