While we all love excitement, my family has never been known for its dedication to thrill seeking. But when some good friends asked us to go sledding with them, we immediately agreed. After all, how often does the chance to sled down [url=http://www.siggen.at/en/tobogganing-on-wildkogel-the-worlds-longest-toboggan-run.html/]the longest sled run in the world[/url] come around?
The sled run is located in [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bramberg_am_WildkogelBramberg/]Bramberg,[/url] a small town in the Pinzgau region of Austria. The run is fourteen kilometers long, and there is a thirteen-hundred meter altitude difference. We had trouble envisioning the length part—how does a single sled run go on for that long without breaking?
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We spent a few weeks wondering, and then we packed up, loaded the car, and were on our way to Mittersill, Austria. We were staying with our friends at a place which was, according to them, “really cool.”
They were right. Our hotel turned out to be a [url=http://www.mittersill-tourismus.at/S94_National%20Park%20Region-Excursion-Destinations-Mittersill-Castle_2.html/]twelfth-century castle,[/url] and everything about [url=http://www.schloss-mittersill.at/en.html/]Schloss Mittersill[/url] was fascinating. There were dungeons that looked like something out of The Count of Monte Cristo. Witch trials were held here—you can still see the hole in the chapel (where court was held) which was used to drop convicted witches into the dungeons. There were great halls and secret passageways all over the place begging to be explored. The rooms were nice and roomy, with big comfy beds and a spectacular view of the snow-covered valley. And it was only a fifteen-minute drive from the longest sled run in the world.
So we put on our snow gear (which we then took off because we were getting hot in the car, and which we then put on again because we were getting cold after getting out of the car) and headed to the slopes. There was a shop renting sleds, and we were assigned our positions: my two-year-old sister with my dad, my four-year-old sister with my grandmother, and the rest of us on individual sleds.
After a few tricky minutes of trying to get everyone and their sleds into the quickly moving [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gondola_lift/]bahn,[/url] we were able to sit back and look around. I may be biased, but it is going to take a pretty incredible sight to convince me that anything could be more beautiful than the view was that clear, crisp morning. It was invigorating; we felt both on top of the world and ready for anything by the time we climbed off the bahn. If I was to make a slideshow of the trip with background music, this is where “Who Let the Dogs Out” would begin playing, because these dogs were certainly out.
It was a blast. As there were no steering devices on the sleds, we had to dig our heels into the ground to turn. It didn’t always work very well. There weren’t brakes, either, so we would drag our hands behind us in the snow to stop. But that didn’t matter—we were zigzagging down a mountainside in the Austrian Alps without a care in the world (except for trying to avoid the cliff drop-offs, which had comfortingly thin orange mesh up to warn you about them). And we were doing it together. There were races, snowball wars, and, not infrequently, spills. When the latter happened, you just laughed, jumped back on, and kept going.
Despite the bruises and aches we had for several days afterwards, we were all so glad we went. Later on we joked about “conquering the mountain”, but that’s exactly what we did!
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