St. Moritz, Switzerland
By Arnd Wiegmann
In 2000 I covered my first bobsleigh world championship for Reuters in the eastern German town of Altenberg. A lot of world cups and the 2007 world championships in the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz followed. Since I moved from Berlin to Zurich at the end of 2007, the annual Bobsleigh World Cup in St. Moritz has been one of my favorite events in our calendar, as it combines working in beautiful surroundings whilst shooting pictures of a breathtaking sport.
But I had never tried to get a chance to feel the speed and gravity aboard a bobsled going down an ice track. A few weeks ago I asked the manager of the Olympia Bob Run Roberto Triulzi for a
permit to place two Gopro cameras on a four-man bobsled to take a video during one of the guest rides, which are offered for interested people. Triulzi agreed and I traveled to St. Moritz to meet Donald Holstein, the leader of the bobsleigh school and one of the pilots for the guest rides.
I placed the small cameras on the four-man in front of Donald and another on the helmet of brakeman Peter Liechti. Once the ride was over, I removed the cameras as my name was called out by the speaker: ‘Mr. Wiegmann, please come to the start!’. Surprisingly there was one place left in the bobsleigh and I was booked for the next ride.
The Olympia Bob Run St. Moritz-Celerina is the world’s oldest and last natural ice track. It was officially opened on New Years Day 1904 by the St. Moritz Bobsleigh Club, which was founded in 1897.
In the second part of the 19th century, St. Moritz was one of the first places in the Alps visited by tourists from Britain to spend their summer holidays. St. Moritz’ tourism business expanded sharply after Johannes Badrutt, the inventive founder of the Kulm Hotel, persuaded guests to visit the valley of the Engadin during the winter season. In order to offer entertainment for the guests, winter sporting events were created, the mountain resort was the pioneer of speed skating, curling, bobsleigh and other competitions in the Alps.