Thrill-seeking in Calgary: Bobsledding with Olympians

I'm not a thrill-seeker, but bobsledding with Olympians in Calgary at Winsport Canada Olympic Park changed all that. Why you should consider the rush of the bobsleigh.

Confession: I am not a thrill seeker. However, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of thrilling activities – ice climbing, camel riding, zip lining, indoor skydiving and bobsledding with Olympians – so the proof of my adventurous side would have you believe otherwise.

During my time in Calgary, Alberta, I had the opportunity to explore the Winsport Canada facility at Canada Olympic Park, a legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics in that city.

I'm not a thrill-seeker, but bobsledding with Olympians in Calgary at Winsport Canada Olympic Park changed all that. Why you should consider the rush of the bobsleigh.

Winsport Canada hosts many national sports organizations, amateur athlete training facilities, and a sports academy for kids to develop in winter sports. There’s also family-fun recreational activities onsite, such as mini-golf, a luge track, skiing & snowboarding, a climbing tower, euro bungee, a zip line suspended from the former Olympic ski jump, and the bobsleigh run.

I'm not a thrill-seeker, but bobsledding with Olympians in Calgary at Winsport Canada Olympic Park changed all that. Why you should consider the rush of the bobsleigh.

I’m guessing that we’re past the point of no return

Bobsledding with Olympians

When the host invited me to try the bobsleigh run, I was a little nervous. You can obtain speeds of over 90 km an hour on this course, and that was in the summer, on wheels. On winter ice it would be even faster, just like it would be at the Winter Olympics. Was I prepared for this speed rush?

Lucky for me, I was in the very capable hands of a certified bobsleigh pro: Australian Olympic Team member and athlete Heath Spence. After running & pushing the sleigh, he jumped in behind me. As we gained speed (and dropped down the run), Heath literally held my head in place as we rounded sharp corners, preventing it from bouncing off the metal guides of the sled. And all of this while steering the bobsleigh as we careened down Calgary’s Olympic run in just over one minute.

I'm not a thrill-seeker, but bobsledding with Olympians in Calgary at Winsport Canada Olympic Park changed all that. Why you should consider the rush of the bobsleigh.

My bobsleigh BFF Heath Spence, member of the Australian Olympic Team

I’m eternally grateful for Heath keeping me safe and sound, and my head bump and headache-free. After all, bobsleigh speeds can exceed 100km or 60 miles per hour, and approach 5 Gs of centrifigal force. This is not a sport or activity for the faint-hearted. I still can’t believe that I actually managed to go down the bobsleigh run. Yes, I would recommend doing it, as it is a hugely thrilling experience. More importantly, you will gain admiration and respect for the sport of bobsleigh, and the athletes who love it.

The Winter Olympics are here. I’ll be watching and cheering on Team Canada of course, but I’ll also be rooting for all the dedicated athletes who’ve been training all of their lives for this shot at sporting glory.

You can follow and cheer on Heath Spence at his twitter account: @aussiebobsleigh

Photo Credits: C. Laroye

Disclosure: The travelling mom thanks Winsport Canada and Canada Olympic Park for the opportunity to experience the bobsleigh run. As always, our opinions ar honest and our own.

Have you ever done a thrill-sport like bobsledding? What did you think about the experience? Share your comments below.

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14 Comments

  • Indrani says:

    90km per hour… 5Gs of centrifugal force… that is highly thrilling… did you scream? 🙂
    I think I will be content seeing and cheering.

  • Jen Joslin says:

    It is so cool that this training facility for amateurs exists! I’ve always been fascinated by winter olympic sports, but never knew how people got into things like luge and bobsledding. I would love to try some of these out! Really cool that you got to bobsled with an Olympic athlete. It boggles my mind that you go that fast in a bobsled!! The zip line suspended from the old Olympic ski jump sounds especially fun too!

    • Claudia says:

      Yes, isn’t it cool?! I’m very glad I tried it, especially with the expert bobsleigh steering skills of an Olympian.

  • Megan Jerrard says:

    The Winsport Canada facility at Canada Olympic Park sounds like so much fun! I have never really had the opportunity to try winter sports – coming from Australia we’re not a huge country for the snow (lol which shows with our current medal count in SKorea right now!!) But bobsledding sounds like so much fun, and it’s awesome that you get to do it right there with an actual Olympian! How neat! Heath sounds great 🙂

  • Vanessa says:

    I am dying at the idea of having someone who has to hold your head! All along I was thinking “I could totally do this” and then I was like “Wait – someone has to make sure you don’t get discombobulated? Oh no!” It sounds awkward and funny and memorable at all once.

  • Nisha says:

    What a terrific rush of Adrenalin, it must have been! I always wondered how people steered this contraption. I agree with you on one point. If I ever do bob-sleighing it would be under the watchful eye and hands of an expert.

  • Super cool! Heath Spence looks very fit! I knew a bit about bobsledding and also have seen it in sports tv! Isn’t it so much fun? It could be one of the most exciting winter activities but needs mighty assistance like Heath provided you!

  • Mike says:

    Oh wow, that sounds like you had a blast. And we know exactly what you went through because we just visited Lake Placid, a few weeks ago, and they had the ice track running….so we got in in the bobsled and ran the track. However we didn’t have Olympians with us, so you might have gotten down faster than we did. Hahahahh.

  • Jessica says:

    What an adventure! I would love to try bobsledding one day. I think it’s one of those things that you can’t think too hard before doing, just hop on the bobsled and go! It’s definitely one of my favorite things to watch in the winter Olympics.

  • Paige W says:

    My dad and I were JUST SAYING that this would be so cool to experience and I said I wondered if they do this in Calgary. (The Olympics always bring these sorts of questions out, don’t they?) Now I know that we can do it! This is what I want to do for his 60th birthday now. He’s super active and fearless, do you think it would be too intense for him?

  • Lauren says:

    Oh wow, that is amazing! What a thrill ride. I have never even thought about going in a bobsled before, but I would really like to try it! Having an Olympian with you is an added bonus, of course!

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