Adventures beneath the bobsled track

We have a guest visiting us for two weeks, so we’re doing our best to show him around the area when we’re still trying to learn the area ourselves. Our adventures took us up to Park City to visit the Utah Olympic Park where many of the alpine events took place during the 2002 Olympics. Part of our experience included hiking up along the path of the bobsled/luge/skeleton track. It was fascinating to see how much smaller it seemed compared to how it looked on TV. There literally is not much room for error in there.

Also interesting was to see just how much work and planning went into building something like that just so people can rid down the length of it in two minutes. It took us around an hour and a half to get to the top from the bottom. They had a separate refrigeration plant built just to pump the ammonia needed to keep the track cool.

When we reached the top we found the bobsled start house open to the public, so we wandered through, looking at the not-terribly-lush accommodations olympians got to hang out in between runs. We also got to see the starting area where the bobsledders scramble to get their sled moving and jump in before the fault line.

It was there disaster struck. Our boys were horsing around, trying to annoy one another, and doing a fairly good job of it, when one of them grabbed the other’s baseball cap and chucked it. No, it didn’t go down the bobsled track–that would have been a good thing, since it had no idea in it and the cap wouldn’t have gone far. It went down about a foot-wide gap between the staging area and the track itself, landing on the ground some three or four feet down. This cap meant a lot to its wearer. Many tears appeared in profusion.

It was a tight squeeze. I managed to stuff myself down the gap, but not far enough. The cap was just a few inches beyond my fingers. Fortunately my daughter was brave enough to try it–and skinny enough. She went down feet first, but ended up kicking the hat farther out of reach because she couldn’t see what she the hat. So my wife ended up leaning down the gap with our digital camera, using the screen on the back to see where the hat was so she could guide my daughter’s feet. Between the two of them they were able to retrieve the hat. Disaster averted.

That little adventure took longer than it took the winning Olympic bobsled to complete their three runs to victory. Just for perspective. But I’m sure it’ll be one of those family memories they make Mastercard commercials out of.

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