£40 / PERSON / DESCENT
Experience the thrill that is not far removed from that to be had in a competition bobsleigh. Invented to let the general public have a try at this thrilling sport on ice. 4 passengers can embark on a descent at the top speed of around 80km/h whilst experiencing a maximum of 2.5 G's in a self guiding and self braking raft.
|BOBSLEIGH TRACK - HISTORY|
The bobsleigh track at La Plagne was built for the Olympic Games Albertville in 1992. The bobsleigh track was built in La Plagne thanks to the enthusiasm of the Bobsleigh club in Macot, an area of La Plagne itself. The bobsleigh club in Macot was the only club in the Savoie region which still had active members. They used the old mining track in La Plagne to organise bob competitions on the road.
From the 8th to the 23rd February 1992 the Olympic track in La Plagne welcomed 350 athletes from 27 different countries to take part in the 3 different luge competitions and 2 different bobsleigh competitions: Men’s singles, women’s singles and men’s doubles and the Two man and four man Bob.
Since 1992 the track has been open every winter for bobsleighing, luge and skeleton. It is the only track in France. Clubs and teams from all over the world come here to train and take part in the various competitions throughout the season. The track is open most evenings for the public to try the Bob-Raft and the Taxi-Bob. Over 10 000 people have already experienced the thrills of these activities in La Plagne.
|Bob raft / bob rafting - operation times|
|DECEMBER TO EARLY MARCH|
|DAILY - EXCEPT MONDAYS|
|Late afternoon - early evening Dependent on other tracks fixtures|
|Dependent on Weather and Ice conditions|
Due to the Bob Rafting activity needing ice the Bobsleigh track is only open during certain months of the year. December is the earliest that the track can open with the warmer temperatures of March forcing the track to close early in the season.
The Bobsleigh track in La Plagne is the only Bobsleigh track in France meaning not only is it open to the General public but more importantly it is open to Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Luge teams from France and other teams from across the World that come and train on a regular basis. Due to this training the track itself is open to the General public to take part in the Bob Raft on daily basis except Mondays BUT ONLY between certain times (Late afternoon -Early evening) These times can be open to change by right of the operating company.
The Bobsleigh track and Bob Rafting activity can also be prone to closure when the weather or ice conditions are not right. If it is snowing excessively heavy the workers sometimes don't have enough time to clear the snow away from the track before it is covered again. Although rare it does happen when it does the track does not operate.
|Bob raft / bob rafting - location / track description|
|Olympic Bobsleigh Track|
|La Plagne, France|
La Plagne has one of the best bobsleigh tracks in the world. It was the official Olympic track used for the Olympic Games at Albertville in 1992. It is 1500m long which allows you to experience an average speed of 80km/h in a Bob Raft feeling forces up to 2.5 G's in the bends.
|How to get there from Meribel|
La Plagne is not connected in anyway to Meribel other than road or by air. To drive to La Plagne it is necessary to drive down the mountain from Meribel to Moutiers. From Moutiers you need to head up the valley road towards Aime and Bourg St Maurice. After about 20 minutes driving you need to turn off and enter Aime. From Aime you need to start making your way back up the mountain to La Plagne. The whole journey from Meribel to La Plagne takes about 50-60 minutes depending on traffic and weather.
- HELICOPTER - THE HELI-BOBRAFT™ - WHITETRACKS EVENTS
Catch a Helicopter from the helipad at the Altiport in Meribel to the Olympic Bobsleigh track in La Plagne. A taxi will be waiting for you at the Helipad in La Plagne awaiting your arrival ready to escort you and the participants to the Bobsleigh track. Once you have finished the Bobsleigh activity the taxi will again escort back to the Helicopter where you will catch it back to Meribel.
|Bob raft / bob rafting - OPERATION / duration / format|
|5-15 minutes - signing in, brief and collection of helmet|
|5 minutes - getting into and organisation in Bob Raft|
|Approximately 90 second descent|
|5 minutes organisation at the bottom of the track|
|5 minutes transfer back to the top|
When you arrive 10 minutes before your allocated time you will need to go to the front desk to sign in. To get to the front desk from the Bobsleigh track car par park you will need to walk through the big open metal gates turn right, walk across the top of the track 'the push start area' and through the doors into the competitors changing room.
Once signed in you will need to wait until you are called. Once called the operator will open up the desk and direct you through a door which will lead you to a room where you will need to choose a helmet. When choosing a helmet make sure you choose one that is firm and secure on your head. PLEASE remember to fasten the clip which will ensure that the helmet does not come off.
Once you have you helmet you are now in line to take part in the Bob Raft. You will need to wait until you are called for your turn. When it is your go one of the instructors will call you and the other three people in your Bob Raft forward. Using the metal steps provided you will climb over the track ice wall and make your way to the empty Bob Raft. BE CAREFUL it is sheet ice and very slippery. When you are next to the Bob Raft, one of the instructors will put you in one at a time and fasten you all in safely. He will then tell you where to put your heads for the best view down. When everyone is securely in the Bob Raft its just a matter of waiting until its time to go! When ready the Instructor will start pushing you forward till eventually he will let go and away you will go!.... ENJOY THE RIDE!!
The Bob Raft DOES NOT have a professional pilot or driver its just four passengers in a big wide foam padded cell that runs on 20cm wide runners that through gravity is a self guiding, self braking bobsleigh that is articulated lengthways and in rotation for sound stability that follows the curvature of the track until it reaches the end.
At the bottom of the track, the Bob Raft will travel up an incline to slow down. When the Bob Raft has come to a complete standstill the instructor will connect a wire to the front of the Bob Raft ready to pull it up the rest of the slope. When ready the instructor will tell you all to jump out. AGAIN be careful you will be stepping out onto sheet ice. Once everyone is out of the Bob Raft they will remove the it from the track, and slide it onto the back of the truck. All the participant will get into the truck and you will all be brought back up to the top of the track.
|Bob raft / bob rafting - restrictions|
|Open to everyone measuring over 1.50 high|
|Under 18's need driver and parent consent|
|For under 15's parents must be present|
The Bob Raft was invented in order to let the general public see what it was like to to take part in the Bobsleigh but without the intenseness of Bobsleigh itself. The Bob Raft is an ideal way of providing this thrill to older children and teenagers that are not old enough to take part in the true Bobsleigh experience.
|Bob raft / bob rafting - equipment supplied|
The Bobsleigh track supply you with a helmet it is compulsory that you wear it whilst taking part in the Bob Raft activity. It is almost inevitable that at some point your head will either hit the side of the bob Raft or will hit one of the other passengers heads on the way down. Although all the helmets supplied are closed face helmets, they do not have visors to pull down - should you wish to bring goggles you can decide when you get there whether you are going to wear them or not. Many people do not wear goggles but if you have them with you, you then have the choice.
|Bob raft / bob rafting - SUGGESTED ITEMS|
|Warm clothing - Ski Clothing - jacket, sallopettes, gloves and goggles|
The Bobsleigh track by its very nature needs to be kept cold to help preserve the ice, due to this the track was built in a valley. Past a certain time in the day the track receives no daylight. The Bobsleigh track in La Plagne is one of the coldest places on earth. Dress warm there is nothing worse than feeling cold whilst taking part in an activity especially one so spectacular as the Bob Raft. REMEMBER if you are cold it's only going to take the edge of your overall enjoyment. WEAR warm ski clothing - Jacket, Sallopettes and Gloves.
|Bob raft / bob rafting - staff / NUMBERS|
There are a number of staff at the Bobsleigh track who are all there to perform their individual jobs. You have the guy that puts you into the Bob Raft and then straps or seat belts you in and then once ready he then pushes the Bob Raft which then sends you down the track.
There are guys dotted down the track on the different corners who after each Bob Raft descent sprays the corners with water and then scrapes the ice smooth again with special scrapers keeping the ice in near perfect condition for the next Bob Raft.
|Bob raft / bob rafting - EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS|
A self guiding and self braking raft made of composite materials shaped like bobsleighs and mounted on 20cm wide blades, foam padded for comfort and articulated lengthways and in rotation for sound stability.
BOB RAFT LINKS
- The British Bobsleigh Association