Sunday, December 08, 2013

Bobsled World Cup

On Friday I went down to the Utah Olympic Park to watch a bobsled competition.  I was going to head back on Saturday for some more photos, but it was extremely cold, snowy and windy.  With the snow, I am worried about moisture getting into my camera and lenses, even though they are "sealed".  I decided this has happened enough times now that I needed to order a rain cover for the camera.  You see them all the time on the sidelines of football games.  An inexpensive cover can save you a huge repair bill.

There was a Skeleton competition Friday morning. The sun was shining and two world records were set.  Of course, I wasn't there for that. In the afternoon and evening when I was there, the sun was behind clouds, and then behind the mountain.  It was frigid and snow showers started.

While it wasn't a great day to be a photographer, the competitors were hammering.  The level of competition really cranks up right before the Olympics.
There seemed to be all sorts of sleds being used.  The photo above looks like a traditional USA sled.  The one below looks like a KOA campground ad.  One of the South Korean women's teams was using a Jamaican sled.
You might expect that with the sleds flying into the turns with such speed and momentum, that they would take a nice straight line.  Not at all.  When you try panning with them for photos, you notice how much they are going up and down the wall in a curve.  Driving has to be intense!
There were dozens of guys along the track who were responsible for making sure the ice was good for each competitor.  They patched ruts, swept loose snow, and smoothed everything out.  I was hoping not to witness a catastrophic accident between a worker on the very edge of the track and a sled coming by at 80+ mph.
This is a two woman team starting.  They get the sleds moving in a hurry and the first five seconds can make the difference between winning and dead last.
Their track spikes give them traction on the ice.  I was walking across it near the start in nice winter boots and almost slipped and fell.
I really enjoy watching them hop into the sleds at full speed.  I wish I had seen the 4-man on Saturday.  The starts of those are really impressive.
This month's lead to the Olympics should be a great one here in Park City.  Next week we have a world cup Luge competition.  Around Christmas there are US Olympic trials for speed skating, ski jumping and Nordic Combined.

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