How Do Olympic Bobsledders Actually Get The Sled Back Up The Hill? Bobsled Transport, Explained

2022 German bobsled team at the Winter Games
(Image credit: NBC Sports)

The bobsled is one of the most exciting sports in the Winter Olympics, with athletes hurtling down icy tracks at speeds of over 90 miles per hour. But after the event is over, what went down must of course go back up. These glorified steel toboggans can weigh about 400 pounds, which has inspired many viewers to ask the question: How the heck do Olympic bobsledders get their cold-weather vehicles back up the hill or even to the Olympics in the first place? 

Running (A Bobsled Back) Up That Hill 

Ask, and ye shall receive. According to The Oregonian, Olympic bobsleds are loaded onto giant trucks that carefully transport the expensive equipment to the apex of the course (which makes much more sense than fantastical images of Doctor Strange’s telekinetic powers taking up real estate in my brain). What's more, it takes a team of three to four people just to lift just one bobsled onto one of the trucks. 

Bobsleds are a bit too heavy for a traditional ski lift or tow rope, and it’s hard to imagine a universe in which modern-day Olympic athletes would be forced to boldly carry their gear up the mountain like Lewis and Clark crossing the Missouri River with canoes over their heads. Without the aid of Star Trek teleportation devices, or self-driving bobsleds, it’s no surprise that Olympic athletes turn to other forms of modern technology. 

The Bobsledders’ Travel Guide: International Edition 

When it comes to hauling bobsleds halfway around the world, however, semi-rig trucks are just the first stop. Forbes reported that Team USA’s bobsleds were taken via truck to an aircraft, which then flew the crates to Europe. It wasn’t cheap, either, with each unit costing upwards of 11,000 euros to fly across the Atlantic. 

That’s not even getting into the price of the journey to Beijing, where the 2022 Winter Olympics were actually taking place (no first-class champagne flutes for those bobsleds). The shipping company that Team USA employed usually ships racehorses, which I was somewhat horrified to discover can weigh three times as much as a bobsled. That being said, the trip was still a pretty penny, with each crate’s transport ringing in at almost $10,000 each. 

With a price tag like that, maybe it’s for the best that Mom made you do ballet class instead of polo. Although, the next time you watch a bobsled race, you can probably appreciate both the incredible athleticism of the contestants and the remarkable efforts of their transportation team. 

How to Watch the 2022 Bobsled Events

The 2022 Olympics will continue to air on Peacock until the ceremony concludes on February 20. NBC Sports reports that the Two-Woman Bobsled is scheduled for February 18 and 19 at 7 am EST, while the Four-Man Bobsled will commence at 8:30 pm on both days. 

Find out how you can watch the event on streaming with your Peacock Premium subscription to get a glimpse of the mythical bobsled trucks firsthand. The sacrifice might be the regular time slot for TV hits like This Is Us or Chicago Fire, so be sure to check out when your favorite NBC shows will air during the Winter Olympic Games. 

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.