How do you make a Bobsleigh track? | Burning Questions
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How do you make a Bobsleigh track? | Burning Questions

November 17, 2019

It’s the Formula 1
of the Winter Olympics. So what do we know
about this daredevil sport? It might surprise you to learn that one of the most
adventurous sports on the planet wasn’t
originally a sport at all. Before the Jamaican
bobsleigh team made it cool, bobsleighs were
actually invented to ferry wealthy visitors around the posh
ski resort of St Moritz. They were literally
too posh to push. Soon, people couldn’t resist
racing them around the streets, so before someone
got seriously hurt, the first official track was
built at the Kulm Hotel park, ending in the village
of Cresta. This track ended up
hosting the sliding events at two Winter Olympic games
and is still in use today. Modern bobsleigh tracks
are made of concrete and then coated with ice. That sounds pretty scary
just saying it – concrete coated with ice, the two hardest substances
known to man. There’s actually a lot
of technology going on to make sure it’s safe
for all the athletes. First, the design of the track
is modelled on a computer. Then it is simulated
in a laboratory in order to measure accurately
the amount of friction that’ll be created between
the sled and the ice when travelling
at high, high speeds. Basically, this means
they can calculate the maximum speed
a sled can reach. The designers take into
account numerous factors, even the differences
in the ice itself. The ice in Canada,
for example, is different to the
ice in Russia, which is different to the ice
in Hawaii because it – because it had melted.
It’s like a little joke. It doesn’t matter. Then the track is constructed
out of reinforced concrete with evaporators embedded
in it to cool the track to exactly minus 11 degrees. Not minus 10. Not minus 12. Minus 11. The track is then
sprayed with water to create a layer
of ice two inches thick. Like snowflakes, no two courses
are exactly the same, but there are certain elements
that each course has to have. They are required to have
at least one straight section and one section made up of
three turns in quick succession. This is known as a labyrinth. A modern track should be
1,200 to 1,300 metres long and have at least 15 curves. The most distinguishing
feature of the tracks is the Petersen turn. The 180-degree turn with
a 270-degree bank angle is a compulsory feature
on all Olympic runs and is named after
pioneering track designer Heidi Petersen. These tracks
are so specialised, there are currently
just 16 in the world. All of them are
artificially cooled with ammonia refrigeration,
with the exception of St Moritz,
the very first track, which is still naturally
cooled. Of these,
the track at Lake Placid is considered the most
technically demanding, featuring 20 tricky
turns, the most for any competitive
sliding track. The fastest track in the
world is in Whistler, built for
the 2010 Winter Games. It is also the steepest
track in the world, featuring a vertical
drop of 148 metres. That’s like jumping out
of a 10-storey window in a bobsleigh
with Lycra for fun. Getting the track spot-on
is essential. As we’ve said, speeds can
exceed 120km per hour, and some curves can subject
the crews to 5G of force. That’s similar
to a fighter pilot – I mean, a fighter
pilot wearing Lycra. The crew is made up
of a pilot, a brakeman, and in the four-man
bob, two pushers. Athletes are selected based
on their speed and strength. Pilots must have the skill,
timing, and finesse to steer the sleigh along
the path or line that’ll produce the greatest speed. If you think you’ve got
what it takes, you’re in luck. Several tracks offer
tourist rides in bobsleighs, so if you fancy yourself as the
next Shauna Rohbock or Pierre Lueders – those are two famous
bobsleighers, but I mean, you knew that – now is your chance. So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this edition of “Burning Questions”. Don’t forget to leave your Burning Question in the comments!


  • Reply Swimmerlover 102 February 13, 2018 at 12:01 am


  • Reply Gucci Airman February 13, 2018 at 12:06 am


  • Reply Gucci Airman February 13, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Cool video I love the olympics

  • Reply jaisnav rajesh February 13, 2018 at 12:15 am


  • Reply David Ray February 13, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Bobsled, not bobsleigh!!!!!

  • Reply God February 13, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Been a dream of mine to try bobsledding, No idea were to get started. Is there even anywere near me to try it? (Ottawa Canada)

  • Reply Ryan Davis February 13, 2018 at 12:27 am

    You didn't answer the question.

  • Reply Anderson Mariano February 13, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Ruim de mais assistir ao vivo as olimpíadas no site oficial olímpico,porque não coloca a live no YouTube direto?

  • Reply Team Kraken February 13, 2018 at 12:40 am

    I love bobshelding

  • Reply Omid S February 13, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Jack Black?????

  • Reply Robert Cornelius February 13, 2018 at 1:04 am

    Generation X,Y, and Z don't care about the Olympics. They been playing it for years as a video game. Crowds are way down.

  • Reply AbsoluteXXIV February 13, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Sanka…….ya dead?

    Ya Man..

  • Reply thierryman February 13, 2018 at 1:59 am

    So these tracks go to -11?

  • Reply Simon February 13, 2018 at 2:14 am

    Where do I reconize this guy from?

  • Reply Adam O February 13, 2018 at 3:11 am

    The Football Republic

  • Reply Gazaht February 13, 2018 at 3:49 am

    is bobsleigh short for bobsleighthan?

  • Reply Chimp Assassin February 13, 2018 at 4:53 am

    this guy thinks he's funny but he's not

  • Reply Owl February 13, 2018 at 4:55 am


  • Reply Daniel García Miguel February 13, 2018 at 6:24 am

    so… how do they actually build it???

  • Reply Peter Schmitz February 13, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Interesting facts, but just not funny :/

  • Reply Kari Skinner February 13, 2018 at 8:46 am

    How are outdoor snowboarding tracks made? Do they build a frame up underneath and pack snow on top, or are the sides pure snow?

  • Reply yj j February 13, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    그게문제가아니야 쇼트트랙에서 우리민정이 밀었어…

  • Reply SteelStar7 February 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Burning question…
    I don't know maybe about Triathlon, my sport 🙂

  • Reply Nikosg February 13, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I love this guy

  • Reply Mrs Sarduy February 13, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    We are into business. Give 6 months we are starting to move.

  • Reply SomeHomies February 13, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Interesting information, but how do you make a Bobsleigh track? And please stop with all these ridiculous jokes

  • Reply Kelvin Leung February 13, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    they really need to find a new host

  • Reply Mark Anthony February 14, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    …and I don’t think it’s a sport, now.

  • Reply drew dawg February 15, 2018 at 12:32 am

    What's that song in the beginning

  • Reply Unbekannter A_nonymer February 15, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    And germany wins everytime

  • Reply Tesla 77 February 16, 2018 at 1:27 am

    That was painful to watch.

  • Reply Facundo Sorolla February 17, 2018 at 11:10 am

    How much does it cost building such a track ?

  • Reply Zdiddy7 February 18, 2018 at 4:29 am

    So the "pushers", do they sell meth and ssteroids to the driver and break man? Would the team with the most pure meth be the favorite?

  • Reply Insert Redletter Media Meme Here February 18, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Concrete and ice, the two hardest substances known to man? uhhhhh….

  • Reply Losi Hollan February 19, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Mistake: the Swiss bobsled track started in St. Moritz and ended in CELERINA. Cresta is the original name of a Swiss sport that is actually now Skeleton.

  • Reply M FERLI February 20, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Go Grimbsy!!

  • Reply Animal Dude February 22, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Burning Questions? It would melt the track

  • Reply Bennet brauer Reporting from a van by the river February 22, 2018 at 5:15 am

    I have an odd stupid question, in metric system countries is a story of a building still 10 feet/3.05 meeters. Sorry, stupid American

  • Reply YowiYT February 22, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    Concrete and ice are not the hardest substances known to man…

  • Reply Luke Jones March 2, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Here’s a 251 second video that doesn’t explain how a bobsleigh track is made!

  • Reply It's Probably the feds, but March 2, 2018 at 10:40 am

    i kinda thought this was gonna be one of those in depth videos were you watch them make a track

  • Reply steven k March 4, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t think he realizes that ice and concrete are not the hardest substances known to man…

  • Reply Mikolaj Wojnicki March 6, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    So why do the pushers need to get in the sleigh?

  • Reply Sam 310 March 7, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Lloyd from tfr

  • Reply Tibe That Guy March 18, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Pfff! 140°? Seriously? i went on a water ride in Germany with a drop of 153°!

  • Reply Paul Lau March 28, 2018 at 5:46 am

    The role of the pilot is pretty obvious. But what do the pushers and brakeman do during the run?

  • Reply Sally H April 15, 2018 at 12:55 am

    When we went to Whistler for a holiday, we got to see that track. Very cool lol

  • Reply Teddy 97 August 25, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    What I know about Bobsleighing: Noone's as good at it as the Germans. Partly because they have four out of those 16 tracks.

  • Reply FullOilBarrel December 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    "Concrete, coated with ice. The two hardest substances known to man" AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

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