Try Toboggan Down Cresta Run
Want to get your adrenaline pumping? Here’s an option: Try toboggan down the Cresta Run. The process is simple yet terrifying: a rider goes down the run alone on a toboggan, lying head-first, using rakes on the end of special boots to brake and steer. The braking part is crucial, particularly ahead of the infamous Shuttlecock corner. Go flying off there (and into a ‘specially prepared’ falling area) and you get the right to wear a Shuttlecock tie. Whether the tie is worth it is another question altogether.
As the world’s only amateur toboggan course, this is a genuinely unique experience in spite of the risk. You can reach speeds of up to 127kph on a1, 212m course featuring a drop of 157m – the numbers are eye-popping. For many, it is the sporting experience to do before you die. Or, if you have a penchant for the theoretical, the one to die doing. We jest, of course.
Founded by Major William Bulpett in 1887 (St Moritz, Switzerland more than 125 years ago), the St Moritz Tobogganing Club receives 50 applications for membership per year, half of which are accepted. This is not, fortunately, the only way to experience the thrill of hurtling down the track. The club offers a beginners package for 600 Swiss Francs, which includes equipment, instructions from an experienced ‘guru’ and five rides.
That is unless you have a Y chromosome. Women were actually stopped from riding the Cresta Run in 1929 because, as one former Cresta President has it: “Women got too bloody good”. The final weekend of the season is set aside, however, for female-only participation. The club’s membership has not sought to change this policy.
So, everyone is welcome (just about) and it is an opportunity not to be misses. In the words of the late Sir Clement Freud, the Cresta Run “is the most reliable laxative imaginable”. Best take a spare pair of pants.