1,616 Miles of Driving for One Mile of Racing


Just centimeters off the ice, I have one mile to slide headfirst down the bobsled track at 75 mph.The track is like a huge waterslide with ice instead of water, consisting of a variety of curves and connected by straightaways. Along the way, I have to navigate through all the intense G-Force pressures on the curves, which is the equivalent feeling to flying in a fighter jet. Most importantly, I somehow need to find a fast way down. What am I doing? The sport of skeleton; which is a cousin to bobsled and luge. I am sliding in my first America’s Cup competition and sliding among 20 other athletes from 12 other countries on the Calgary, Canada track. I am newly representing Venezuela, which is my mother’s home country. If you’re not familiar with skeleton, it’s similar to bobsled as I need to have a fast start at the top of the track in order to also be fast at the bottom. Like luge though, I’m lying down through most of the ride, but instead of lying on my back, feet-first, I’m on my stomach, headfirst. In just about a mile, this run will be over, and I get about 10 chances to do this.

I wouldn’t be here without an 808-mile-drive from Park City, Utah to Calgary, Canada. In a few days, I’ll need to make the return trip back, for a total of 1,616 miles. How did I get here? I found a ride at the last minute with the Jamaican bobsled team, literally. I am so grateful to be standing at the top of the Calgary track, because I didn’t even know that I would get the chance to compete this season. Problem is, the bobsled team has decided to stay in Canada in a few weeks, whereas I need to get back to work in Utah in a few days. It's fairly common for winter sports athletes, who often make little to no money competing, to struggle with logistics so I was optimistic about my chances of making it home.

Fast forward a few days. I did well in my competitions, and slid faster each day. Fortunately, I was able to find another ride back with the some other sliders, and that was extremely fortunate. Looking back, I could have very well been stuck in Canada. In any case, I’m so excited that I was able to compete and travel safely to and from Canada.

Speaking of transportation needs, Park City Transport is the best service to get you from the airport to the mountains and all around town when you plan your ski vacation.

-Liz Swaney