How To Bobsled Like a Professional: Riga’s Sigulda Bobsleigh Track
The Sigulda Bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track is one of the only tracks in the world that allows both professionals and visitors to hurl themselves down a bobsleigh run. This 4,000-foot-long, 16-turn course is located in the stunning small town of Sigulda. The track was first opened in 1986 and is currently the training venue for Latvia’s Olympic team. Both international and national competitions are held there every year.
Good news is the sled track is open year-round. In the summer you’ll take a bobsled on wheels, and in the winter they’ll stick you on something called a soft bob. The soft bob (a padded raft-like torpedo thing) is for those who like it a bit slower paced (and cheaper, too). You’ll reach speeds of about 45mph — which isn’t a stroll by any means. But visitors also have the option to ride a proper bobsled with a professional driver onboard to prevent any Cool Runnings mishaps. It’s not for the seekers of slow, though, as you’ll reach speeds more like 60mph. The fare differs substantially with the soft bob at €10/person (€7 for kids) and the bobsled at €50/person.
There’s a third option, however: the frog for €15/person. This is more like the skeleton sled of competitions. On the frog, two people lie side by side on their stomachs and bomb down the track, with a plastic window providing a perfect view of the ice zooming by.
While both professionals and amateurs (or newbs) can experience the ride, only the professionals start from the tippy top platform that you’ll see upon arrival (19m off the ground). But even starting from the parking lot, as the visitors do, the ride lasts about a minute — which is a long time to be screaming your head off (just try not to).
How to get there
Sigulda is about 50km northeast from Latvia’s capital city of Riga. By car, it takes about an hour. But frequent buses and trains run between the two. You can hop a train from Riga’s Central Station.
What to consider
- This is the real deal and not for the faint of heart. You’ve got to like fast speed and doing G’s to enjoy this ride.
- Sigulda is a beautiful town with other things to see and do besides the bobsled.
- If riding isn’t your thing, you can climb to the top of the viewing tower for about 60 cents.
- The summer bob is only open to visitors on weekends.
- It’s €10/person for the soft bob, €15/person for the frog, and €50/person to ride in a real bobsled.