Gaining Speed

There's a new game in town for thrill-seekers: a lightning-quick tear down an icy half-pipe. Eight Olympic bobsled tracks around the world are open to the public, allowing adrenaline junkies to pull up to five G's in as many as 20 turns taken at 113 to 129kph. In about a minute it's all over, but it feels as if it took forever.

In Park City, Utah, the 129kph "Comet" lets riders experience a 40-story drop in about 54 seconds ($200, ages 16 and up; olyparks.com). They can recover at the Canyons, which features world-class skiing as well as family-friendly accommodations (from $446; thecanyons.com).

Opened in 1890, the world's only natural-ice bobsled track, in St-Moritz, Switzerland, takes riders up to 134kph in 75 seconds ($195, 18 and older; olympia-bobrun.ch). Those with energy to burn should stay at the Grand Hotel Kronenhof, which offers curling, skiing and skating (from €344; www.kronenhof.com).

In Igls, Austria, sledders can ride on the track built for the 1976 Winter Olympics (€30, 14 and older; www.knauseder-event.at) and stay at the nearby Grand Hotel Europa in Innsbruck (from €150; www.europatyrol.com).

At the Adrenaline Center in Cortina, Italy, riders are outfitted in padded ski suits, helmets and safety belts as they prepare to hit near-Olympic race speeds (€16 and up; www.adrenalin center.it/eng/index.html). The luxe Cristallo Palace Hotel features grand rooms with Carrera marble (€330; venere.com). But a racing heart may make sleep elusive.

Gaining Speed | World