Starting on Wednesday, Feb. 16, members of the public will be able to get a taste of what Jon Montgomery experienced on his gold medal-winning Olympic runs, with the B.C. Safety Authority giving its final approval to the Skeleton Sport Experience Program at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
It's been a long process to get approval for the program, which gives participants two runs through the last six corners of the track on a modified skeleton sled. However, even with the lower start, participants are clocked over 90 km/h.
"I've done it, I was the first person down while we were testing the program," said Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies (W2010SL) president and CEO Keith Bennett. "I needed to know what is the product we're selling here, what it is and what's it's like, and I can say that it's good. It's very good. It's exhilarating and gives you a feel for what these Olympic athletes are doing. Our speed on the track is around the mid-90 kilometres per hour and it's a fantastic ride."
The Skeleton Sport Experience will be open from Feb. 16 to Mar. 20 (when the facility will be closed to host the Canadian Youth Championships). It will be open from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily with up to 20 participants per session. Every participant will get a tour, a full orientation and two skeleton runs for a cost of $130 plus HST.
Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by dropping by the Guest Services desk at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
W2010SL has been working on offering public tours for several months, but getting approvals from the B.C. Safety Authority has been a slow process. However, while the track has a reputation for speed and danger for World Cup athletes, members of the public will be travelling 40 to 50 km/h slower than international athletes.
W2010SL is still working on a public bobsleigh tour, and hope to be able to offer that by the start of next season.