Skiing > sledding

My lab does some sort of winter excursion each year, the idea being to do something fun as a team. This year, we went to Les Diablerets to go sledding and skiing. The scenery was spectacular, we had a great lunch, and the skiing was really fun. The sledding was — how to put this? — a different story.

Fast sleds.

I state at the outset that the rest of the team loved the sledding and seemed to manage to do it without any problems whatsoever. This means my experience is an outlier and should be taken as such. I will describe it anyway.

The sleds were fast. We took the fastest ones available, which were equipped with ski-material runners instead of metal that might, you know, provide any sort of friction whatsoever. At the hire shop they provided us with instructions on how to turn. Notably absent was any advice on how you might slow the thing down.

To turn a sled, you lean in the opposite direction to the way you want to go. This would have been fine, save for my tendency to move away from danger. This normally useful instinct is a recipe for disaster on the luge track. Every time I got close enough to the snow wall on the side of the track to be concerned about hitting it, I would lean away; this would turn the sled towards the danger and into the wall.

The only good thing about repeatedly smacking myself into the wall on the side of the luge track was that it meant it stopped the luge. Later, while hurtling down the road, gaining speed rapidly, and barely keeping the sled off the edges, I found myself thinking wistfully of highways that have escape ramps for trucks that lose their breaks. No such ramps were provided here.

At one point, after crashing into the retaining wall (again), the luge disappeared over the edge and careened down a ski slope, narrowly missing some confused skiers. It was while trying to get the sled back up a steep hill of deep and heavy snow that I decided I would switch to skiing for the rest of the day. I did so, and the day was fantastic.

The team on skis.

So luging is not my thing. As I said, everyone else loved it, so definitely try it if you enjoy sliding uncontrollably on ice. I’ll be on my skis.

February 24, 2016


  1. A small but statistically significant sample size for a critical investigation into on-snow transport options! I admit I loled a bit.

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