Note to Self: Remember to flip the camera screen in when tobagganing in the Swiss Alps

  • Posted on: 16 February 2009
  • By: Michelle

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So, when we were in Switzerland we went tobogganing in a way that no North American could ever conceive of.

You take the train up to this mountain town called Bremen, where you can rent old-school, luge-type toboggans right there at the station. The sleds ranged in style from I-am-from-Hawaii-and-have-never-seen-snow to I-am-currently-a-German-luge-athlete-on-the-World-Cup-circuit. We chose the middle of the road I-am-a-Canadian-skeleton-athlete-who-is-confident-in-my-ability-to-drive-one-of-these-suckers-but-my-coach-is-making-us-get-the-novice-sleds-in-an-attempt-to-prevent-injuries category.

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After you pick up your sled from the rental shop, you walk about 200 metres and find yourself at the top of a seven-kilometre tobogganing run that winds its way down to the next town, where you can, conveniently, return your sled, get on the train and go home.

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Apparently you are supposed to ride the sled in the seated position, and use your legs and the reigns to steer, as Cassie (one of the American sliders) demonstrates here.

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Most of us chose a more ... ummm ... instinctive position ... (and yes, standing up on the sled would be considered instinctive for Daly ... )

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Some were, however, a little less adept at maneuvering these sleds than they were at driving a skeleton sled.

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After about two hours, which involved several incidents of being yelled at in German, we finally got to the bottom of the run, at which point we had several options - take a chair lift up to a second run (which was our first choice but it turned out the lifts had already closed for the day); or hike into town, return our sleds and get back on the train home.

OR ... we could hike up the steepest hill we could find and really put these babies to the test.

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My picture-taking life is currently a throwback to the dark ages of the 20th century. You have to look through the viewfinder to frame the photo, and it's anyones guess as to whether the picture will actually turn out or not. So when you get a chance to take a photo with the Premier or with two Olympic rowers and their gold medal you may very well get home and find that the pictures Suck with a capital S because you can't turn the flash on, can't change the settings, can't check to make sure the shot isn't blurry.

How the hell did I make it through a trip to Africa in the 90s, quietly packing back 13 rolls of undeveloped film, unconcerned about whether or not any the pictures would actually turn out? Every time I am about to snap a photo right now, I start convulsing at the thought that I might get a chance to ... oh, I don't know ... HOLD A FREAKIN' OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL, and the picture might not come out.