This post is also available in: German
to get back in shape after all the xmas cookie madness, I started a project called SLED astrophotography. basically: a sled, a tripod, a camera, hot tea, warm gear and a hike on one of the many sled runs around innsbruck. sled riding has a strong culture in austria, bavaria and other alps countries, and there are even some books covering the best runs in tyrol, southern tyrol et al.
There are a couple of alm huts around innsbruck which are at elevations around 1600 to 2000 m. On many winter days, it is tradition to hike up with family, friends, kids and sleds to eat and drink something and then descent and have fun. for the first sled astrophotography run I however choose to hike up when the hut was closed – since at times these huts can be brightly illuminated, and passing by riders would destroy the shots with their bright headlights.
the sled runs are maintained by the hut owners, and basically snow covered fire roads. these hikes to the huts are also done within working week to have a hike after work with friends.
at the very popular website winterrodeln.org, sledders can rate the current state and shape of many sledruns around the country (good snow, weak snow, no snow, slushy snow, icy, dangerous etc), and one can find info about most sled runs (how to get there, time to hike up, what food to expect at the hut etc). friends have started this project a couple years ago in Innsbruck and it is now a great source to decide which rodelbahn or sledrun to choose to go on a weekend.
Impressed by the low budget horror movie Blair Witch Project my Vertriding friends and me even did a quite cool MiniDV POV Video long time ago one of these sled runs… It was 2003 when we started a trend by riding these sledruns with Mountainbikes…, LOL. I remember my fastest run at these times being around 73 km/h, GPS logged.
A decade later mountainbikers are welcome and a quite common sight on some sled runs especially around Innsbruck. I still enjoy some of these rides from time to time, but with a wonderful family now, I see myself often pulling my little daughter up on a sled – great training.
In case you wonder: a Mountainbike, with studded tires, powerful disk brakes etc is actually quite easy and safe to handle on a sled run. Some people consider it even saver than a traditional sled, as they are hard to brake on ice, which is not a problem on a bike with studs.
Whatever, here’s my first TWAN SLEDophotography…
PS: the green flash is not a Quandrantid but a strong meteorological laser experiment at Innsbruck city