Utah Olympic Park Summer Bobsled 6/13/21

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Monday, June 14, 2021 3:56 PM

This isn’t an amusement park, but if you are in/near Salt Lake City, it might well be worth a stop.

The venue is the sliding track from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, just up the road from Park City. This is part of a larger complex that includes ropes courses, zip lines, alpine slide, summer tubing, and a few other odds and ends. You may also get a chance to see people practicing ski jumps or freestyle skiing using a splash pool. There is also a very nice little museum about the ‘02 winter games—I’ve got a soft spot for the olympics (I’ve visited the IOC’s museum in Lausanne, CH, for example.)

https://utaholympiclegacy.org/location/utah-olympic-park/

We were there for the summer bobsled, which is currently priced at $80pp for a run that lasts a bit less than a minute. Steep price, but a unique experience, and one I’m really glad to have done.

You check in about 30-45 minutes prior to your time window, where they check that you’ve signed the “I won’t sue you if I die” waiver. With that out of the way, you take a ski lift up to a level close to the top of the track, and then shuttle over to the starting house. Each party rode separately, but that might be a COVID thing.

They fit you with a helmet, and these things are serious. Tight fitting, fully padded including all along the jaw line. I’d figure out why that was in a few minutes. There is a driver who takes you down, and you’re behind him. Restraints are pretty simple—there is a single padded bench low to the sled, with a simple lap belt. You don’t lean against a backrest. Instead you have hand straps that you wrap like a ski or hiking pole, and try to keep a good “riding posture” on the way down: straight back, hunched shoulders, pushing your knees and elbows outward into more padding. Once everyone is settled in, a gentle push start and off you go.

This was an intense experience, reportedly with +3G at at least one of the larger sweeping turns. The course goes by so fast I’m not sure I could explain it. There are ~15 turns total, and 2-3 *big* turns that had us well up the wall in some pretty intense +G—enough that my riding partner was very worried about going past a grey-out. There are also some hard laterals, giving a new definition to the word “head banger” and good reason for those helmets. It wasn’t painful at all with the helmet on, but there was also no amount of hunched shoulders that would keep my head steady through those I don’t think.

A minute later and you’re at the bottom. My legs were awfully rubbery getting out of the sled, and I had a good dose of adrenaline pumping after we got off. This is a unique, intense, and certainly expensive experience. But, you can say you rode the same bobsled track that Olympians used in ‘02, and for me that’s a bucket list item.

If that’s not your speed, they also sell a 3.5 hour pass for most of the rest of the park at about $75 or so. That looks like it might be fun but we’ll probably be spending the rest of our week here in Park City hiking the mountains.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, June 14, 2021 4:00 PM
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Monday, June 14, 2021 6:18 PM

Lagoon, maybe?

We’re looking at a trip to Sal Tlay Ka Siti sometime this summer (because I want to go to Lagoon) and my partner asked if there’s anything else to do there. I’m pretty sure this isn’t what he has in mind, but I think I may have found it. Sounds scary and awesome.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 7:02 PM

Bobsled runs at Lake Placid and Whistler are also open to the public (though neither is currently open). Been looking to fit one in on a trip nearby at some point. Any of them would be fun.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 7:36 PM
OhioStater's avatar

A quick google search related the fact that this is the second fastest bobsled run in the world. I was absolutely fascinated with bobsled as a kid, but had no idea you could have a chance to actually ride one. What an awesome experience.

Now imagine doing this in "skeleton" mode.

Definitely worth the price, IMO.


Promoter of fog.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 8:02 PM

Whistler has public skeleton:

https://www.whistlersportlegacies.com/whistler-sliding-centre/thing...c-skeleton

Run through the track's last 6 corners. Can reach speeds of 100 kph/62 mph. Get 2 runs.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 8:49 PM

RCMAC said:

Lagoon, maybe?

We’re looking at a trip to Sal Tlay Ka Siti sometime this summer (because I want to go to Lagoon) and my partner asked if there’s anything else to do there. I’m pretty sure this isn’t what he has in mind, but I think I may have found it. Sounds scary and awesome.

Depends on what they enjoy, but we spent our first morning here at the Red Butte Gardens, part of the University of Utah. A fantastic rose collection, and the water conservation garden was both really neat and had excellent views of the valley. The whole place exceeded expectations.

We might pass on Lagoon, because SLC proper is *hot* this week. Temps north of 100 every day, so I’d rather be in the mountains.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, June 14, 2021 8:51 PM
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Monday, June 14, 2021 10:00 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Sounds really cool.

Will you make it up into the Cotonwoods? Snowbird is stunning compared to the Park City side of the mountain range.


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Tuesday, June 15, 2021 2:23 PM

I’m not sure about Little Cottonwood. I was there a couple of years ago hiking at Snowbird for a conference, and while it is beautiful up there it is also a dead end and a pain to get to from PC. We might do Big, depends on how the week shapes out. We drove up to hike at MIrror Lake in the Uintas yesterday; some great views up there too.


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Tuesday, June 15, 2021 7:36 PM

I rode the Summer Bobsled (or Bobsleigh as they call it there) in Calgary a few years ago. It was quite a thrill and hope to try the one in Utah next time I get out that way.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021 12:50 AM

Haven't done the Bobsled run but I have stood at the top of the Park City Olympic ski jump hill. The pucker factor is very, very, very intense.

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