Have you ever wondered what it would be like to soar through the freezing cold air in hopes to land in some sort of fluffy snow? Well, as the Telegraph has outlined, the most exciting Winter Olympics are quite scary and require a lot of talent.
I suggest reading what is entailed in each event, before you give it a try for yourself…
Fear factor: 4/5
“It feels as if your stomach is being sucked into your ankles and your head into your chest.” –Peter Hardy, ski correspondent
Short of tucking yourself into a commercial washing machine and pressing the spin button, no sensation on Earth matches a run in a four-man bobsleigh.
Squeezed into a steel pod only 3.8 metres in length and weighing 600 kilograms, the driver has to negotiate up to 20 wickedly banked bends down a 1.5-kilometre course of glazed ice. You hit the biggest bends at more than 80mph and 5G – that’s five times the force of gravity. The brakeman’s job only begins at the end of the course when he releases hydraulic steel spikes into the ice to stop the bob – braking during the run ruins the track and is absolutely forbidden.
Fear factor: 5/5
“As I began to pick up speed, any semblance of technique went out the window and self-preservation took over.” –Charles Starmer-Smith, Head of Telegraph Travel
Ever since “Eddie the Eagle” found it’s way into the history books at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, Britons have had a soft spot for ski jumping.
Beginners don’t zip off the 90m tower at 60mph and hope for the best. You start with jumps of 10m and reach 20m after a day worth of practice.
Whatever the size of the hill, it takes an extraordinary amount of courage to race down the icy runway on extra-long 2.4m skis and take that leap of faith. Once you start, there’s no going back and for many, the most difficult thing is standing at the top and letting go.
Women will compete on the hill for the first time at Sochi.
Boardercross and ski cross
Fear factor: 3/5
“Mayhem, madness and more adrenaline junkies than you can shake a stick at. Look out for the men’s and women’s events on February 20 and 21.” –Graham Bell
These two events attracted the largest viewing figures at the Vancouver Games and there’s no doubt that they are the two most exciting Olympic ski events. It’s a bit like BMX on ice.
After an elimination trial, the top 32 skiers or riders set off four at a time down a course of banked turns and rollers at speeds of up to 75mph. Pushing and shoving are not officially allowed but, as in polo, competitors can hold their line and clashes are frequent.
Fear factor: off the scale
“I could barely speak and my body felt as though it had just gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson, but I had never felt so alive. What a ride!” –Charles Starmer-Smith
Face down on an overweight tea tray and with your nose just 3 inches from the ice, you hurtle down a bobsleigh track at speeds of up to 90mph. Of all the Olympic adrenaline-fueled sports, this has to be the scariest.
The skeleton derived from the men-only Cresta Run in St Moritz, which dates to 1884. The main difference is that a bobsleigh track that is used for skeleton has more bends, and you have no brakes.
Downhill and Giant Slalom
Fear factor: off the scale
“Every racer who gets to the bottom of the Hahnenkamm is a winner.”–Franz Klammer, veteran Austrian Olympic gold medalist
In giant slalom you have to negotiate a series of widely spaced gates on a rock-hard piste at high speed. Downhill takes the game to a whole new level. It has only a few control gates and is over a much longer and steeper course. The surface is injected with water to make it icier and you won’t manage to hold an edge at all without race-prepared skis.
Both disciplines require varying combinations of technique. You don’t learn either overnight and downhill training is extremely difficult to acquire because it involves a whole section of the mountain being fenced off and closed to the public.
Obviously, these events are mainly encouraged to be watched on TV or at live events. However, if you absolutely must try some of these “daredevelish” activities, please do them safely and with supervision.
For more on this story visit: Henry Druce, Telegraph