What exactly is the Cresta Run? An adrenaline-charged 80mph thrill, with your face just inches above the ice, explains OT founder and ski fanatic Nick. For a once in a lifetime holiday experience, head to Switzerland for the adventure to beat all adventures...
British Olympic Gold
Last year, Amy Williams brought the little known sport of Skeleton to our screens as she slid at breakneck speed to Winter Olympics Gold in Vancouver.
How Cresta originated...
Skeleton developed as a spin-off from the 125 year old Cresta Run in St Moritz. The Cresta Run still draws in hundreds of seasoned Members and beginners each season to take part in this exhilarating sport. There are two starting points on the Cresta; Junction (about a third of the way down) and Top (unsurprisingly, from the top). The former, all can ride from; the Top, you must qualify for.
80mph, face just inches above the ice...
After a few seasons of riding the Cresta Run from Junction, I scraped a qualifying performance to ride from Top. So it was earlier this year that I found myself standing at Top facing three quarters of a mile of ice, my mind spinning with instructions and stats. The one that really got me wobbly-legged, however, was that if I really got my toboggan going I would be travelling at about 80mph by the time I reached the bottom...that is, of course, assuming I hadn't flown off the course during my descent, which is how up to 10% of rides are brought to an unceremonious end.
Off we go
I was snapped out of my reverie when an encouraging fellow rider clapped me on the back and told me, "The thrill you are about to feel is a bit like being slapped in the face with a big wet fish." Nice!
Another smiling Top rider said, "The three greatest thrills in my life were sleeping with my wife for the first time, witnessing the birth of my first child and riding from Top for the first time...not necessarily in that order!
The next thing I knew, my name was being called and I was gingerly lowering myself onto my toboggan to ease my way off from the start. In just a few seconds, the fish had whacked me in the face and I was busy contemplating my wife and first child.
Before I could give it any more thought, the three curves I had never ridden before were swooping me from left to right, and the landmarks of the lower part of course which had seemed so familiar were now passing me at an altogether different speed.
The feeling was incredible; thrilling, like a dance - grin-inducing, dangerous and yet full of the joys of being a child on a toboggan again. Before I knew it I had reached the village of Celerina at the bottom of the Cresta Run and I was standing up, pumped with adrenalin and endorphins, grinning like an idiot with just one thought in mind: "Show me the way back to Top!"
Riding with Olympic athletes
While I was there, my fellow Top riders included people from six continents, Olympic athletes and even a sprightly 80 year old - all with broad smiles across their faces, alive with the thrill of the Cresta Run and delighted to share their experience with you. Conclusion? The Cresta is a must-do.