I had enjoyed my first skeleton experience so much, that I decided to join Skeleton School at the Whistler Sliding Center. The training school is at least one weekend per month. About 2 hours each day. The training season lasts from about November until around end of March. Training start from the same corner as public skeleton events, which is called Maple Leaf (Corner #11, aka Shiver). Depending on the coach assessment of one’s performance, after 20 runs (over the span of several training sessions), one would move up to Luge Junior Start aka Lower Ladies (Corner #7, aka Lueders Loop). Which is my current starting point. Next level up, which I expect to move up to next season would be Lower Mens (Corner #3, aka Wedge). And last, well technically it’s the top start, is where the top athletes start, which would take probably a couple of seasons of training.
Now, while the sport has somewhat a high risk of injury; considering the speeds we travel at, skeleton is very safe; relatively speaking, compared to Luge for example. While I have not crashed yet (and would like not to), it’s only a matter of time. And I accept that. I did have a few very close calls. And it only made me realize that even when it gets bad, it’s not THAT bad after all. Yes, I have had rashes (ice isn’t as smooth as one thinks!), and let’s not talk about the bruises! I suspect we’re more afraid of the idea of crashing, rather than the crash itself. It’s the psychological factor that’s more present. During one of my sessions, I was having a really bad day. I was having horrible runs, during one of them, I had become airborne! When the sled and myself hit the ice back again (NEVER LET GO OF THE SLED, is the #1 rule), my hips hit the side bars, that form a cage to hold one’s body. Months later, and my left hip/leg join still feels stiff. Anyways, what I’m trying to say, is that the injuries are not something you can’t get from playing any other sport. Just that the odds are higher 🙂
Regardless, it’s loads of fun, and I plan to return next season. Here’s a podium photo (courtesy of Francis Chiasson) during the BCBSA & BCLA Cup; to highlight the end of season. Expect some of the people in this photograph to be on the Olympic team in the coming years. Not me though!