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Saturday, 1 December 2012

GOING DOWNHILL FAST: The Bobsleigh Track at La Plagne


Olympic Games fever: This month sees Ferrari spending time at the La Plagne track as they test their new 2-man bob for the Italian bobsleigh team.

Updated 22/12/12

The La Plagne bobsleigh track was built for the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games::

Albertville was awarded the Games in 1986, and the track was built between 1988 and 1990; more here.

It's the only track in France, and appeared as part of the disastrous Annecy 2018 bid. (Here's some footage of the anti-JO campaign celebrating, by the way).

Indeed, given that it is the only one in France, it also formed part of the Grenoble 2018 bid as well (the venue for the 1968 Olympics, along with Nice, losing out to Annecy for the right to be France's "candidate city").  It's worth a look at the Grenoble promotional video, as it's truly dreadful:

Annecy's loss was a big blow to the La Plagne track; 6m€ were spent on the track in 2008, and it costs 800-900,000€ to keep it going each year.  In an article in Le Dauphiné last year, the Mayor of La Plagne put a brave face on things, but did say that they will need to redouble their marketing efforts to attract people to the site - more here.

For the moment, the track doesn't seem to be falling into dispute.  Indeed it hosted a round of the Bobsleigh World Cup in 2012, and is open for business until 7 April.

Here's a link to the La Plagne bobsleigh club's site.  And from the official site, here's the "Bob Experience".  Last season's prices ranged from 39€ for a place in an automatic "bob-raft" (80km/h)  to 111€ for 3 people to go in the real thing, together with a professional driver, and reach 120 km/h....

You can read more about what it's like to take the trip in this Guardian article from December 2012.

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