Sliding pictures

Last updated: Sun Jul 13 16:57:42 BST 2014
For a long time, almost since we started travelling to Whistler, there had been a long term plan to go Heli-Skiing for my 50th birthday. I had been keen to do this, but I wanted Becky to not only come as well.... but to WANT to :-).

Becky is probably a technically superior skier.... but she lacks courage in her own abilities. I on the other hand (as appears to be typical of the male of the species) ski with no fear (or sense some would say!!).

Things took a turn after April 2011, when the nasty mountain and its fluffy snow, grabbed my left leg and twisted it, tearing the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). After surgery, and a season off, I'm back skiing.... but I've become a little more wary of powder.... so the Heli-Skiing was a little less appealing (and Becky still didn't want to go)!

In January 2014, the trip before my 50th, I'd come up with an alternative plan... Whistler had hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010, and were letting the public experience the sliding events at the Whistler Sliding Centre. I booked the Bobsled experience before we left home.

Prior to the event, we were given a briefing (basically a warning of what we were letting ourselves in for, which seemed to amuse our "friends" who were not competing), our start order was listed, and I looked a little pensive, and Becky videoed us as we set off...

We were grouped into threes (I was grouped with Jason and Katie, a couple from Vancouver), to go along with a driver (who steered and braked - normally the driver steers... and the brakeman brakes !!), and being the shortest (no change there!!), I got to sit beind the driver... the main instruction being not to head butt the driver!! We loaded into the sled in about a minute - the pros do this, whilst pushing the sled, and jumping in, in less than 5 seconds !! And at the end of the run we survived and were able to stand on the podium (even through technically we weren't in first place!!).

During the run, I had my GPS tracker active, and it produced the tracking data and the associated Google Earth data file, and a pair of videos of the run, one with an insert looking back (and getting in the way!!) and one without

Finally, the final results were provided.

Initially, I was quite happy to just do the Bobsleigh experience, and leave it at that, but we were offered $100 off the other experience if we took the option this trip. For once, I actually had scheduled a day off skiing on this trip, so I returned to take part in the Skeleton experience with Jason (one of my bobsled teammates). Before that however, I had a morning to fill....

On the 11th January, there had been a massive dump of snow (50cm new overnight), which meant that there were people everywhere..... Having opted not to ski... I was partially disappointed, until I saw the queues.... people must have been waiting at least 30 minutes. Fortunately, I'd opted to go snow-shoeing... so we had lift line priority... and then didn't need another lift!!

We slid... and climbed... and walked... about 3 miles in total... but an awesome experience in that much fresh snow... With the amount of bodies... movement wasn't quick.... so I had to rush back to the hotel, grab some quick lunch... and then head off to the Whistler Sliding Centre.

Once again, we had the briefing, and the weigh-in... and the choice of whether to dress warm... or streamlined.... I went for speed... and Becky had decided to stay in the warm.... and watch on video.... Which ended up with some entertainment...

I was scheduled to run third.... but no-one had mentioned that one of the track regulars would go down first... (looking for obstables??)... this meant that Becky was expecting me to be the third one down... and the following video... where Becky is videoing Jason on video... thinking it is me and was a little worried when she saw this almost accident...

I made it down twice unscathed!! Although, if you get the GPS track of the second skeleton run... you will notice a couple of times when I slowed significantly... which I suspect is when I scraped the wall. The timings typically improve as the session goes on... so whilst I was half a second faster in my second run... I was 8th (of 12) as opposed to 5th in the first.

Results from the Skeleton are here.

One additional item of interest, is that we were joined on the Skeleton run, by Loren Christie, who is a travel correspondant for CTVam (Canadian Breakfast TV), and they were doing a piece about Olympic Legacy, which showed on 31-Jan-2014. The article is available here. Interestingly, I also experienced the "shoe-wear".

There was no option to have the skeleton runs videoed.... (although see the CTV link above for a run... but not mine)... however, there were photos taken.

Finally, a still halfway through Jason's crash

DateSportTracking DataGoogle Earth dataResults
4-Jan-2014Bobsleigh Gtrek Google Earth Results
11-Jan-2014Skeleton Gtrek Run 1 none Results
Gtrek Run 2

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© Malcolm Preen, 2014