Whenever you happened to watch Bobsleigh races in TV, did you also often think about how it is like to race down the ice track in this metal cigar-alike racer? How it is like to be part of the Formula One of Winter Sports? The world famous track at Königssee in very Southeastern Germany gives you the opportunity to try it out (with professional pilots, of course) – and as there is no ice in summer, you can also have the same experience with a summer bob, which is having tires instead of runners. When I was around in late June 2020, I just had to give that adventure a try. Here is my experience with Rennbob Taxi Königssee.
I selected this taxi bob ride as my Favorite Stadium / Arena / Arena Tour Experience during 2020.
Lotto Bayern Eisarena Königssee – Location
The Lotto Bayern Eisarena Königssee, how the bobsleigh track at the Königssee is officially called, is located right at the Lake Königssee. The final long curve is maybe 50 meters from the beach of the lake away. Please note that the village of Königssee part, but not equivalent to the village of Schönau at the Königsseee.
Königssee has a huge parking lot at the edge of the city. Full-day parking is 5 Euro, no change, prepaid. If you do a boat trip or want to have a hike or fun at the beach, this is the place to go. From these huge parking lots, however, it is easily 20 minutes walk to the finish line, where the registration for the taxi ride is taking place. The organizers do allow you to use the private road to the the artificial bobsleigh run arena, which makes the visit significantly more handy.
Lotto Bayern Eisarena Königssee – The Track
When Königssee hosted their first races in 1959, the shadowy location of the track felt ideal for the sports at that time – which has been performed on natural ice. However, already in the following year, they more and more struggled with too warm temperatures, so that finally, the organizers decided to go for an artificial ice track. The works have been completed in 1968 and in early 1969, it hosted its first race with the FIL Luge World Championship. This version of the Königssee track was the first permanent track in the world which was completely artificially refrigerated. The track as it is now reflects however another major renovation, which has been performed until 2010.
For men’s single luge, the track length is 1,362 meters (I failed to visit the start there). Bobsleigh and Skeleton (track length 1,270 meters) use the same starting structure, but different start gates than women’s luge and men’s doubles (1,242 meters). For Two-Man Bob (Men), the track record after renovation is 48.94 seconds (Friedrich / Margis / Germany), the Four-Man Bob best time is 48.26 seconds (Lochner / Kagerhuber / Bluhm / Rasp / Germany). The US ladies Meyers and Garett hold the track record on the women side (50.28 seconds).
The summer bobs used for the summer bob taxiing are significantly slower, for two reasons: first of all, the bob is just slightly pushed by the pilot, secondly, the bobs on tires do not allow to take the curves as high as Olympic bobs can do on ice. For the winter bob ride, the Rennbob Taxi Königssee team gives an estimated run time of 60 seconds, which is quite fast.
Rennbob Taxi Königssee – Summer Bob Taxi Ride
There are just selected dates for the Rennbob Taxi Königssee. Ideally, you book your ride online. They did have a credit card machine at check in, but I would not go for that. In general, not too much is done at check-in, apart from standard liability waiver procedures. Then you head up to the starting area. If you are very lucky (e.g. because they have to bring something like a bob to the start), you may get a ride uphill, otherwise, you have to take the uphill walk along the service road. The walk is short, but the elevation between the base and bobsleigh start is some 117 meters, so it was quite a climb for me.
Summer Adoptions and Trying out the Luge in Winter
In general, it is the same when you do the taxi ride in winter. There are just three key differences: you pay 30 Euro more than in summer, you additionally receive a certificate and it is possible to get a video of your ride. Minimum age in summer is 14 years, while it is 18 for the winter experience. If you are a really brave guy, you can even try the luge in winter – of course, just from the comparably low youth start.
At the start, you do not only receive your balaclava and your rental helmet, but of course also meet your pilot. I had a ride with 30 year old Matthias Böhmer, who has been Vice World Champion at the Juniors in his younger. The most prominent name the Rennbob Taxi Königssee has on its lineup is very likely Manuel Machata, who won Gold (4-Man Bob) and SIlver (2-Man Bob) at the 2011 Bob World Championships on that track, who also co-owns the Rennbob Taxi company. The introduction was really kind. Due to my body shape / size, the bob could only leave with the pilot and another customer, which was no problem at all.
There are no pictures of my ride, but I took some of the next one. This experience was just amazing. In summer, the track is maybe more bumpy than in winter and you know that the speed is lower (my guess is 90 kph roughly), but it was a lot of fun – and even though the bob was slightly jumping here and there on the track, I always felt save. Maybe the only really sad thing about the summer bob is that after the long 13th curve Turbodrom (which is a 320 degrees bend), the track heads uphill again – and the speed of the bob is not sufficient to make it to the very end of the track. Thus, you need to get out of the bob and push it for some 20 meters.
After the race, the bob is brought uphill in a car, so that the session is quite efficient. In case of higher attendance (we were eight people in the session), they could use a second summer bob. For the winter experience, there are up to six bobs available.
Rennbob Taxi Königssee – My View
Wow, that was really cool. I have to admit that I was really scared about the summer bob ride – but finally, it was so much fun – I am really pumped to do it again in winter (maybe in Winterberg, though, which is much closer to my home town Cologne). The crew as so nice and I felt safe and just had fun. No more roller coaster ride – do it without loopings and in style! A definite Top Pick! – thank you so much to the Rennbob Taxi Königssee company!
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