A few weeks before we left on this trip we watched a couple travel videos by Rick Steves of PBS on Bavaria and Austria. In them he talked about summer luge rides in the Alps. We all were real interested in trying it if we could fit it in our travel. In Innsbruck, we searched the internet and asked the front desk person at our hotel about them to no avail. Nothing was coming up under luge, which is what Rick Steves called them. I finally found an article on the internet that referred to "sommerrodelbahn." Ahha! I searched under sommerrodelbahn and a bunch of sites jumped up on the computer screen. There were probably 15 of them all over the Alps. Sommerrodelbahns or summer toboggans are chutes or tracks on ski mountains that you ride down in little sled type cars that you control with a control stick; forward to go and back to use the brake. After an hour or two of checking them all out, first by location we could get to between Innsbruck and Salzburg and second by which were the best. It turned out that there was one in the ski area of a town called
In the Cable Car to the Top
She looks like she's already clenching her teeth anticipating the ride
Mieders about 15 minutes south of Innsbruck. We headed there first and then would make our journey to our next stop, Salzburg.
In the pictures and video, you cannot get any idea of how high up the mountain the ride was. It was something like 6,000 ft up and steep! From below, you can't see the top where the cable car drops you off. This is also the longest ride in the Alps. Over 2,800 meters long, something like 1.7 miles. It starts with a cable car ride to the summit. Jan and I jumped into a cable car before Dan & Marilyn and were lucky because we were in a car with a British couple on holiday visiting the other couple in the car who were from this town, Mieders. And they spoke excellent English. The Austrian gentleman told us all about the ride, telling us that there was an automatic braking system that kept the speed no higher than 40 mph. He told us how to operate it and also said that they would allow about a 15 second interval between cars so that they didn't come up on each other. On the ride up, we saw
a couple of the sleds going down and they sure seemed to be going fast. Jan was getting a little apprehensive.
Thank God he told us something about it because the operator of the ride spoke no English and didn't seem to have any interest giving out instructions. After a short discussion, with Jan deciding she would try it, I took off first. It was quite intimidating for a while because of the track it was on rather than being in a chute. You felt like you were going to fall off the thing even though they did put a safety belt across your lap. I admit to being pretty cautious and using the brake a lot, especially going into the turns. There are numerous sharp turns and vertical drops. the track took us into the forest around the clearing quite a bit. About 1/2 way down, Jan yelled behind me that she was catching up to me. It turns out the interval the operator allowed was more like 2 seconds, not 15. Well, that made me get a little more gutsy and I started flying down faster.
When we finished, my heart was beating pretty fast. We
all really loved it. There's no doubt that the more you ride it, the faster you would go. Dan & Marilyn thought about going one more time, but decided it was probably time to get on the road to Salzburg.
Tot: 0.381s; Tpl: 0.027s; cc: 9; qc: 30; dbt: 0.3196s; 1; m:jupiter w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.5mb