I joined Peter Unsinn (International Marketing Manager of Innsbruck Tourism) at the Amy Williams Skeleton Experience. This is held every year at the Innsbruck Olympic Bobsleigh and Skeleton track in Igls. Amy Williams has teamed up with Momentum Ski, allowing the public to experience an adrenaline rush they won’t forget in a hurry.
Winter Olympic Gold Medalist
Amy became the first British Gold medalist at the Winter Olympics in 30 years. This was back in 2010 in Vancouver. Since retiring from the sport in 2012, she is now an Ambassador of the British Olympic Association, a TV presenter and motivational speaker.
She also gives people the opportunity to experience this exhilarating sport, right here in Innsbruck. Using the city as a base and Igls (10 minutes away) as the training ground, this is the perfect thrill seekers weekend that combines hanging out with some Olympians and celebrities in the charming city of Innsbruck and training to be a Skeleton champion (for the weekend).
What is the Amy Williams Skeleton Experience?
The Experience allows you to get involved in the sport and try something thrillingly different. Many Olympic teams from across Europe train here, this is the opportunity for you to train on the same track as the pros. The facilities and trainers are fantastic and being in Innsbruck means you are well looked after.
Built in 1975 for the 1976 Winter Olympics, 1270 metres of track are ready for you to fling yourself down as fast as possible. This is pretty nerve racking, especially as the sled has no brakes. But Amy has trained here for ten years, so she can guide and train participants the best way possible. Being one of the easiest and safest runs, it is perfect for beginners.
Amy told me that unless you were part of a Skeleton club, it was very difficult to give it a try. Now it is easily possible and what better way to learn than with an expert Olympic Gold medalist?
Momentum Ski organise the event with Amy. They also organise ski weekends, special events and tailor made trips with added luxury – go skiing in the alps during the day and have top chef Heston Blumenthal cook you a gourmet meal in the evening. Pretty much whatever you want, they can cater for.
This Experience gives you the whole package: flights to Innsbruck, two nights in the 5* Grand Hotel Europa and all the training you need to fly down the Skeleton track on your own. A bobsleigh taxi ride is also included.
Who can do it?
Even though kids as young as eight start training at Igls, this exciting weekend is for adults. Colin Jackson was there again this year who said he really likes Innsbruck and the Experience is a lot of fun. Being an Olympic Hurdle Silver medalist and World Record holder, he’s definitely not new to sport, but there were beginners who took part and of were of different ages.
Most of the participants didn’t know each other and they all got stuck in and cheered each other on. There was a slight bit of competitiveness of course, but all in good faith.
The Last Supper
The awards dinner was held at none other that the historic Ottoburg restaurant, which was originally built in 1180 and situated in Innsbruck’s old town, right by the river Inn. Great food, lovely wine and brilliant company. Everyone got to know each other more and shared their own experiences of the track, along with some fruitful banter and laughter.
A lady from Australia who was on a European trip with her husband said the Experience was “amazing”. Everyone was saying how fantastic it was, not only the Skeleton run itself, but the hosting from Amin Momen and Ben Badger of Momentum Ski, being in Innsbruck and of course the training, guidance and chit-chats with the lovely Amy Williams. What a great idea and weekend!
The winner of this year’s Experience was actor and model Craig McGinlay, who’s fastest time was 44.298 seconds. 2nd place went to Ben Mountain (yes that is his real name) who clocked the quickest speed of 99.82km/h.
It’s incredible to think that they were flying down the track at nearly 100km/h, head first and with their chin about 20cm from the ice. A thrill I’m sure they will never forget.
So the 100km/h mark has not been crossed in the history of the Amy Williams Skeleton Experience. Will you be able to bust that barrier next year? I think I’m going to give it a try!
Here’s the Gopro footage from Mark Denford’s Skeleton run. It looks like a lot of fun!
For more information about the Experience and to apply for next year, go to the Momentum Ski website.
All photos by Franz Oss.