Get Inspired: How to get into sled sports

Lizzy Yarnold wins gold at Sochi 2014.
Fast Answers
Why get into sled sports?An adrenaline rush like no other, plus an intense core workout, are provided by these high-octane sports.
Who is it for?Anybody with the bravery and commitment to throw themselves down an icy slope!
Is there a cheap option?Wait for the snow, head to the hills and practice with your homemade sled!
What if I want a proper workout?The G-force levels as you're going down the slope require incredible fitness to withstand.
Can I take it to another level?The University of Bath's specialist facilities have trained gold medal winners in successive Winter Olympics.
Is there a disability option?Para-bobsleigh and skeleton were included at World level for the first time in 2015.
Is there a family option?Manchester's Chill Factor-e provides a great introduction to the sport for the whole family.

Imagine controlling your body down the chute at speeds you shouldn't reach on a motorway, with only plastic or fibreglass sled - and a helmet - for protection.

Sound crazy? Of course. But if crazy is what you're after, then sled sports could be for you.

With skeleton, bobsleigh and luge to choose from - the difference in which we'll explain below - you'll have some decisions to make.

But whichever you go for, you'll be sure to receive a G-force-driven workout and an adrenaline rush that has few equals in sport.

Aspire to be like: Lizzy Yarnold

Aspire to be like Lizzy Yarnold

Lizzy Yarnold followed her 2014 Olympic success with a World Championship triumph in 2015.


Lizzy Yarnold relives golden moments

Skeleton is a true daredevil sport. Competitors plummet head-first down a steep track at speeds of 80mph in what is considered the world's first sliding sport.

Britain has had substantial recent success in the sport, with Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold securing golds in successive Winter Olympics, 2010 and 2014 respectively.

The UK does not possess its own skeleton track - the same goes for luge and bobsleigh too - but the University of Bathexternal-link has a small start-track often used by skeleton and bobsleigh athletes for training purposes.

The British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association offers a membership packageexternal-link that gives members the chance to try the sport and compete at the British Championships. There are also regular Talent IDexternal-link days if you think you have what it takes.


Katherine Grainger gets tips from John Jackson on the correct way to get into a bobsleigh

Brought to a wider audience by the riotous Disney film Cool Runnings - which tells the true story of Jamaica entering a bobsleigh team in the 1988 Winter Olympics - this sport is perfect for thrill-seekers who like working in a team.

Teams of two or four push the sled to the start line, jump in and speed down the track, with emphasis placed on a fast start to such an extent that 100m sprinters often convert to bobsleigh.

Like skeleton, the only place to use specialist facilities is at the University of Bathexternal-link, although both British Bobsleigh and Skeletonexternal-link and British Bobsleighexternal-link can help get you started.


GB's AJ Rosen competing at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.
GB's AJ Rosen competing at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.

The luge, which translates as 'sled', sees competitors travelling feet-first down an icy track at up to 85mph - with only a helmet for protection.

The competitor lies on a pod made of moulded fibreglass, designed to match the contours of the slider. There are no brakes. To slow down, the slider drags their feet along the ice.

Other than the University of Bathexternal-link facilities, Chill Factor-e in Manchesterexternal-link offers a taster session, although it is far removed from the Olympic event. Contact the Great British Luge Associationexternal-link for more details.

Disability sled sports

GB's Corie Mapp won the inaugural World Cup para bobsleigh race in 2015.
GB's Corie Mapp won the inaugural World Cup para-bobsleigh race in 2015.

World Cup para-events are already held in bobsleigh and skeleton, with a view to the sports being introduced to the Winter Paralympics by 2022.

Find out about the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association's opportunities for para-athletes here.external-link

Youth sled sports

Children practice a bobsleigh start.
Dry tracks can teach youngsters the basics of the sport, in much less dangerous circumstances.

The danger inherent in hurtling down an icy slope at breakneck speed means that the full versions of these sports may not be ideal for youngsters - but that doesn't mean your kids can't get involved early.

Manchester's Chill Factor-eexternal-link offers an introduction to luge your children, which in turn teaches transferable skills if your child fancies skeleton or bobsleigh. Speed and strength can be honed off the ice.

Contact the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Associationexternal-link or the Great British Luge Associationexternal-link to find out more.

What's next?

1. Contact the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Associationexternal-link or the British Luge Associationexternal-link to find local opportunities.

2. Share your storyexternal-link and inspire others.

Are you inspired to try sled sports? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the game by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired,external-link visiting us on Facebookexternal-link or email us on

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.