5 Things you Didn’t Know About Bobsled Tracks

Bobsled tracks require a careful design and consideration of rules set out by the IBSF. Many readers would be surprised to learn these 5 important pieces of information about bobsled tracks.

1. Bobsled tracks can contain over 1.1 million pounds (approximately 5000,000 kg ) and over 70 miles of piping.

2. Bobsled tracks are usually refrigerated. Evaporators are buried in the concrete which cools the track to 12 degrees F (-11 C). The track is sprayed with water to create a 2-inch (5.08cm) surface of ice.

3. The entire pressurized piping system uses ammonia which travels through chillers and compressors. The ammonia feeds into supply pipes under the track, It then goes through return lines, and back to the refrigeration building for re-chilling.

4. Natural tracks are simply a mountain road or path containing snow and ice. The slope on natural tracks is no more than 1.5 percent (1 degree). 100 feet (30 meters) of track requires a maximum elevation of 1.5 feet. Speeds of 50mph (80kph) can be reached on a natural track.

5. Artificial-tracks include higher banks on turns, with slopes of 8 to 11% (about 5 to 6 degrees). Speed on artificial tracks can be as high as 90 mph (140 kph) or more. The fastest ever recorded time on a bobsled is 124.9mph (201kph).

The concept of a bobsled track has not changed very much since the early days of the sport although the engineering, design and construction has. The latest artificial tracks are often made away from the site. They are transported and fabricated on site. This cuts down on man hours and onsite costs. There are less than 20 artificial bobsled tracks across the world although there are still a number of natural tracks. The size and cost of running a bobsled track mean that the bobsled track will remain highly valued by enthusiasts.