Facts about the Cresta

Around the world there are about 14 Bob Runs, the oldest (and only one made of natural ice) being in St Moritz, and two natural ice Luge Runs. The last three disciplines tend to be dominated by professionals. There is only one Cresta Run. It is unique and it remains one of the last truly amateur sports.

The Cresta, the Bob, the Luge and Bob-Skeleton

On the Cresta Run, the rider goes down as an individual on a toboggan in a lying position head-first, using rakes on the end of special boots to brake and steer. On Bob Runs, riders go down in pairs or teams of four in a metal capsule on runners. One person steers, another operates the brakes. Riders go down in a seated position. For the Luge, riders lie on their backs on a toboggan, feet first. They ride on Bob Runs and Luge Runs, both singly and in pairs. In the Bob-Skeleton individuals ride head-first, as on the Cresta, but do not use rakes. They ride on Bob Runs.

The Cresta Season

Depending on snow conditions (i.e. whether it has been cold enough to build the Run), the Cresta Run is open in the mornings from just before Christmas until the end of February/early March. At the start of the season riding is only from Junction. Riding from Top starts in mid-January. There are over thirty highly competitive races (for Members only) and riding takes place every morning of the week – weather permitting.

What sort of speeds are we talking about?

Only one rider has broken the 50 second barrier from Top: Lord Wrottesley broke James Sunley's record of 16 years' standing (50.09) on 1st February 2015 with a 49.92, and also achieved the fastest speed ever recorded of 82.87 mph. The current record from Junction, held by Magnus Eger, is 40.94 seconds. Beginners start from Junction and attempt to go down in a time of between 65 and 75 seconds for their first few rides.

What is Shuttlecock?

The most famous (or notorious) corner of the Run. This long, low, raking, left-hand bank, about half-way down the Run, acts as a safety-valve; if riders are out of control, they risk going out of Shuttlecock into a carefully prepared falling area of snow and straw. Fallers at Shuttlecock automatically become members of the Shuttlecock Club and are entitled to wear a Shuttlecock tie (available from the Shop in the Clubhouse). The average fall:ride ratio is approximately 1:12, although this is higher for Beginners.

The risks in riding

The whole purpose and challenge of the Run is the exercise of the skill and judgement required to negotiate the corners successfully with the minimum loss of speed and time. Thus the risk of falling, or losing control, is inherent in the sport. Because of this factor and the fact that a rider is travelling fast over an icy surface on an open toboggan, riding the Cresta Run is inherently dangerous. Certain banks are slightly convex and designed so that a rider will fall out of the Run, if he is out of control. Banks on bob and luge runs are concave and people fall within the track. A curling stone sent down a Bob Run will arrive at the finish. A curling stone sent down the Cresta Run, whether from Top or Junction, will come out at the first such opportunity.  All riders ride at their own risk and must sign a liability disclaimer before riding.

What about women riding?

Ladies may now ride the Cresta Run on the same basis as male riders. 

How to book

Beginners can book a slot for riding by choosing a practice session from our online calendar and following the instructions from there. Should your preferred session be full, please email mail@cresta-run.com and we will check availability and do our best to accommodate you. Only members of the SMTC are eligible to book on to races at the Cresta Run.

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