Of winter sports, bob-sleighing is by no means the least fascinating and exciting. The bobsleigh, although actually an English invention, is seldom met with in this country, the climatic conditions not lending themselves to the sport for which it is designed.
Switzerland, especially the Engadine, is the home of bobsleighing, and at many ot its winter resorts, notably St. Moritz and Davos, it is in very great favour, races being an everyday feature on the specially constructed runs when conditions are suitable.
A bobsleigh is a variety of sled fitted with two pairs of runners, the forward pair being movable, thus enabling horizontal steering to be practised. The back runners do not move sideways, but sufficient spring is given them to overcome irregularities in the run.
The steering apparatus consists usually of two steel cables attached to the front runners; they are held by the leader of the team, who gives a pull on the right cable in making a right turn or on the left u he wishes to turn left. A team may consist of two to six persons, but the ideal team is five.
The runs at the chief winter sports resorts of Switzerland are specially constructed for the purpose, and great skill in their preparation is necessary. They are constructed not as a direct run from top to bottom but with a series of curves, and it is in the proper negotiation of these curves that the greatest skill is required. In this, and not in speed alone, lies the wonderful fascination of the sport.
The most famous run is the Cresta at St. Moritz, which is more than 1,300 yards long.