Lillehammer hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1994. As a result it boasts an array of winter activities such as the bobsleigh track — which was actually built for that sole purpose.
The competition length of the track is a whopping 1,365 m with a height difference of 114.3 m, and it includes 16 curves. The season for ice is between October-March. But don’t worry though, should you be in the area during the summer season then you can try the wheelbob which is similar to the winter experience.
Now, let’s start with the bobsleigh and then move on to (what I considered the highlight) the skeleton bob!
Some of you, like myself, might associate bobsleigh either with the hilarious 1993 movie “Jamaica has a Bobsleigh Team” AKA “Cool Runnings“, or through a glimpse of this unique sport during the Winter Olympics (but if you’re completely unfamiliar to bobsleigh then check out this article).
Overall, bobsleigh is generally some distant crazy thing we would never ever get close to, and at least not something that we would ever do ourselves!
Well, in fact you can, and you may do so at the Olympic bob track in Lillehammer. So what are you saying? Why not try this weird, uber cool activity?! If you have a bucket list then write it down there (and if you don’t have a list then get started!).
My two cousins, Stefan and Andreas, and my girlfriend Elaine took a ride in the professional bobsleigh — also called “taxibob” — and experienced speeds up to 120 km/h and up to 5G-force!
Below is their GoPro video of their bobsleigh ride!
For those of us who were gonna do the skeleton race, we opted for the cheaper “bobraft” as opposed to the professional “taxibob”, as it only cost 1/4 of the price. The bobraft is a rubber bobsleigh that seats 5-6 people and reaches speeds up to 100 km/h and up to 3G (photo below). While it sounds like a less thrilling experience it was actually immensely fun, scary and exciting — and it didn’t reduce the nerves for the upcoming skeleton whatsoever!
- Book in advance. You don’t wanna take the trip all the way there only to find out it’s fully booked. Enough said.
- Taxibob vs. Bobraft. If the professional taxi bob sounds like too much, then there’s the alternative to do the bobraft which goes in about 100 km/h — as opposed to 120 km/h.
- However, remember that for the taxi bob you have a driver that arguably makes you “crash” less into the wall, whereas for the bobraft there’s essentially no steering so you might bump into the wall more often.
- Warm clothes. While the adrenaline will help you forget about the cold weather, there could be some waiting between the riders, so dress in warm clothes.
- GoPro film. You can buy a GoPro film of your taxibob ride (not for the bobraft). Costs NOK 150,- which is quite cheap as most such “YOLO activities” charge an unreasonably high price — because they know you are likely to really want some photo evidence!
- Minimum two passengers. There must be at least two passengers in the bobsleigh. If you are coming alone, please contact the Olympiaparken in advance (contact details at the end of this post).
- Prices. Bobrafting NOK 250,- per person for adults. Children 10-15 years NOK 175,-.
Family ticket bobraft: 2 adults and 2 children (children: 10-15 years), NOK 730,-.
Taxibob: NOK 990,- per person, including 5G pin and bobsleigh certificate.
- Age limit. Bobraft: 10 years accompanied by an adult and 12 years without.
Taxibob: 16 years.
- Opening hours. See here for opening hours.
- More information. For more information about the bobsleigh activity, read this safety and information leaflet by the provider.
If you’re unsure what skeleton entails, then this Wikipedia article can help enlighten you. Anyways, let me summarise for you the key details:
- You’re going down a bobsleigh course in about 90 km/h and 2.5G;
- On a tiny sled;
- Head first;
- 8 cm above the ice (your nose approximately 1 cm above the ice);
- With essentially no steering; and
- No visibility
The skeleton is easily one of the scariest things I’ve yet to try — and I’ve tried my fair share of adrenaline-related activities (such as stunt plane, world’s highest bungee jump, driving in 200 km/h, skydiving, diving with sharks, etc.).
Here’s a short clip of one of us in action on the skeleton. Notice how fast it goes!
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to use GoPro for the skeleton, as the cameras often get crushed and end up in several pieces on the track. But they used to allow it before, so below you can see another amateur who did the very same skeleton ride in Lillehammer a few years ago.
- Book in advance. Must be booked in advanced
- Health condition. Not for the faint-hearted and one ought to be in a relatively good health condition, with no back/neck problems/injuries or heart/lung disorders.
- Bring a friend. Bring a friend or someone else to join in on the activity to: 1) share the fun 2) motivate each other 3) and mitigate the likely feeling of wanting to “chicken out”.
- They also take the time of every run, so you could have a big competition!
- Wear good gloves. To ensure decent grip on the tiny sled.
- Price. They only advertise for 2 runs at NOK 990,- per person on the website — but you can also opt for 1 run for NOK 600,-
- 1 run vs. 2 runs. I thought 1 ride would be more than enough, but I actually regretted not having had a second run in order to master it more profoundly. E.g. get those legs up, be more straight, be less afraid and so forth.
- Age limit. 16 years.
- Opening hours. See here for opening hours.
- More information. For more information about the skeleton bobsleigh, read this safety and information leaflet by the provider.
Extra: Activity Park
Besides bobsleighing, there is a separate activity park where they offer group activities such as trapeze, log houses, maze, rifle practice, bow and arrow shooting and a 2,500 sqm outdoor paintball arena.
Should you have additional questions or want to place a reservation, then contact the provider, Olympiaparken:
- Website: http://www.olympiaparken.no/en/
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: +47 61 05 42 00
- Lillehammer is about a 2-hour drive from Oslo. So, it’s easily manageable for a day-trip. If you don’t have a car don’t fret, because there are buses (i.e. Nor-Way) and trains that can take you to the area.
- If you’re nearby and have the time, then you also ought to check out Hafjell ski resort which is only a few kilometres away.
Hope you enjoyed the article and got keen on trying bobsleigh and skeleton for yourself! It’s wicked fun!