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All about sledding! The sport for speed demons

By: Simon la Lau at 13 March 2024
Header Alles over rodelen De sport voor snelheidsduivels EN
Most winter sports enthusiasts choose to travel to Austria to go skiing or snowboarding. For many, there is nothing more beautiful than sliding down steep slopes at high speeds. However, for speed demons who love racing over snowy slopes, there is another winter activity that fits perfectly: sledding! In this blog, you will learn everything about the ins and outs of this sledding sport. 
 

Down the Slope  

First, a brief introduction to what sledding entails: sledding is a winter sports activity where participants slide down a snowy slope on a special sled. How fast you slide down is up to you. You don't need specific experience or fitness to enjoy a fantastic sledding experience; simply steer by shifting your weight forward for more speed and brake by leaning backward. A good amount of courage is all you need for a fantastic sledding experience. 
 

Practitioners  

Sledding can be practiced just for fun, recreationally, but also at a professional level! Recreational sledders enjoy the activity for fun, especially when on vacation. Amateur athletes train occasionally and participate in local competitions, while professional athletes train intensively and take part in official competitions in various sledding disciplines. Sledding is even part of the Olympic Winter Games, where Austria is very successful and ranks third on the list of countries with the most gold medals! Italy and Germany are in second and first place, respectively. 
 
In general, sledding is accessible to people of different skill levels and age groups. It is a sport embraced by both dedicated athletes and enthusiastic tourists. 
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Tobogganing in the Wildkogel Arena

Transport  

The main reason people sled is to take on the sporting challenge and experience an adrenaline rush when reaching high speeds. Practitioners of the sport do it for the fun. However, what many people may not know is that sledding historically served a practical purpose. Historically, sleds were used for transporting goods in mountainous areas. Sledding was more related to functional transportation than recreational sliding down the mountain. 
 

Conditions  

Because sledding can only be practiced during the winter season when there is enough snow, the sport is highly dependent on weather conditions. Additionally, the possibility of sledding is limited by the geographical location of the area where you want to sled; there must be enough suitable slopes nearby to slide down. 
 
In addition to climatic and geographical conditions, the right essential items are also crucial. Wearing a helmet, ski goggles, waterproof shoes, and knee and elbow protectors is recommended, but most importantly, a sturdy sled. Make sure the sled is in good condition and suitable for the specific sledding form you are going to practice to prevent any accidents.
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Descending the mountain on a toboggan sled

Art and Nature  

In many winter areas with good snow conditions and suitable slopes, you can go sledding. In Europe, the Alpine region is particularly known for its beautiful and excellent sledding opportunities. Austria, in particular, hosts fantastic sledding tracks, distinguishing between natural and artificial tracks. Natural tracks follow the contours of the terrain, while artificially constructed tracks are built with concrete or metal channels and feature sharp turns and slopes. A higher speed can often be achieved on an artificial track. 
 

Longest Sledding Track  

As mentioned above, Austria has great sledding tracks. The sledding track of the Wildkogel Arena, located near Neukirchen am Grossvenediger and Bramberg am Wildkogel, is even the longest in Europe with an impressive length of 14 km! Along this track, you will encounter various cozy huts where you can take a break and enjoy the surroundings. The descent, lasting about 45 minutes, is illuminated until 22:00. A ride down is truly a unique experience. 
 

Don't Forget  

It's important not to forget to check the local conditions and rules before going sledding. Some locations have specific opening hours, safety rules, and possible restrictions depending on the weather.

Chalets

Cover 0001 NK Bachmayerspitze ligging winter 4a
Cover 0002 NK Bachmayrspitze zomer 1

Nationalpark Chalet Bachmayrspitze

Neukirchen am Grossvenediger
9.1
Cover 0001 BB Pinzghaus winter 2
Cover 0002 BB Pinzghaus zomer 1a

Grünerstein Chalet Pinzghaus

Bramberg am Wildkogel
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Cover HK ZA1 winter 1
Cover HK ZA1 zomer 8
9.5
Cover 0001 NK Keeseck 1
Cover 0002 NK Keeseck zomer 6

Nationalpark Chalet Keeseck

Neukirchen am Grossvenediger
9.1
Cover 0001 MA Sport Chalet winter 1
Cover 0002 MA Suite 9 17
9.1
Cover 0001 MS Haus Schnoll Top 4 1
Cover 0002 MS Haus Schnoll Top 4 10

Haus Schnöll Top 4

Mittersill