One the more dangerous components of a relatively harmless winter pastime, sledding, is the accumulation of ice on the hill. The hard and slick surface provides the perfect parameters for a tough fall, and the speed you gain on the ice can be unnerving for an untrained sledder. Now picture an entire hill of ice, and you’re not traveling by sled or toboggan, but on a flimsy sheet of metal half the size of your body and mere inches from the ice rushing underneath. Oh yeah, you’re also traveling over 80 mph head-first around twists and turns nearing 90 degrees that can leave you gasping when the plus 5 G-force bends your face at the front of the sled.
That’s what defines the sport of skeleton to an Adrenalist, which we’ve introduced before. They both use the same track, with its whiplash turns and concrete ice, but skeleton riding is for those Adrenalists who see everyone going feet first and don’t think it’s enough of a rush. They jump on head-first because they’re primed to get down the track and don’t want to waste time getting their feet in position.
In this recent first-person video, Adrenalist Nathan Crumpton attaches a GoPro camera to his back before donning the usual skeleton garb: helmet, gloves, sleek footwear and skintight suit. The camera catches him at the start of the luge track in Park City, Utah, the home of the Park City Olympic Village, and a vestigial reminder of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. After he sprints onto the vicious course, we get to see him ripping around turns with the camera shaking violently as the force increases with each passing second.
We’ve actually been lucky enough to try a wheeled bobsled down the same course at Park City for a run during a summer trip and the forces craned and lashed our helmet-clad head as we lassoed around the serpentine track. We’re pretty sure Mr. Crumpton, clocking in at a little under 80 mph on the run below, experienced more centrifugal force than we did, which is crazy because we still get shudders in our neck when we think about it. Watch as the camera begins to shake mid-way through his run as he gains momentum and the turns whir by faster and faster.