Spiral (bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton)

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Men's singles luge start house (left) and bobsleigh start in 2007.

The Spiral is a bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track located in Iizuna village, located north of Nagano, Japan. Used for the bobsleigh and luge competitions for the 1998 Winter Olympics, it is the only permanent bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track in Asia and the only one of its type in the world with two uphill sections. It is officially referred to as the Nagano Bobsleigh-Luge Park in Japan.


The track was among part of the venues used for the 1998 Winter Olympics that was started in 1990.[1] Construction on the track started in November 1993 and was completed in March 1996 with homologation from the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) on 28 March 1996 and from the International Luge Federation on 24 June 1997.[1][2][3] This track was referred to as the "Spiral" because of the winding track and dynamic movement of the sleds.[1]

Track technical details[edit]

Overall track construction cost ¥ 10.1 billion.[1] The course was constructed in conformance of the natural topography of Mt. Iizuna.[1] Three indirect ammonia refrigeration systems are located along the track, limiting the amount of ammonia to be under 800 kg (1,800 lb). During construction, rocks and trees that were dug up were used as materials to build settling ponds and a retaining wall to prevent landslides. Topsoil that had been removed during construction was returned to the site once groundwork was completed. About 40,000 saplings, mainly beech and oak, were planted two per square meter, as part of the environmental stewardship committed during the Winter Games.[1]

To help with ice making techniques, Nagano Organizing Committee officials recruited Ralf Mende, who works for the bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track in Altenberg, Germany [4] to train staff to make proper ice.[1] Mende and his crew worked 18 hours a day during the 1998 Games to ensure track thickness was 2–3 cm (1–1 in) of ice.[4] Sun shades are used in an effort to maintain the operating temperatures of −10 to −15 °C (14 to 5 °F).[4] Track competitions were also moved to the afternoon during the games to avoid the sunniest hours.[4] There are a total of 56 sensors located throughout the track to maintain constant ice temperature and thickness.[2]


Physical statistics
Sport[1] Length (meters) Turns Vertical drop (start to finish) Average grade (%)
Bobsleigh and skeleton 1360 14 113 8.64[5]
Luge - men's singles 1326 14 114
Luge - women's singles/ men's doubles 1194 13 96

There are no listed turn names for the track. The track's two uphill sections are right after turn 8 with an average uphill inclincation close to 4% and between turns 10 and 11 with an average uphill inclination of nearly 10%.[3]

Track records[6]
Sport Record Nation - athlete(s) Date Time (seconds)
Luge - men's singles Track David Möller -  Germany 13 February 2004 48.813
Luge - women's singles Track Silke Kraushaar -  Germany 14 February 2004 49.744
Luge - men's doubles Track  Germany - Patric Leitner & Alexander Resch 14 February 2004 49.279

Championships hosted[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°42′39″N 138°9′27″E / 36.71083°N 138.15750°E / 36.71083; 138.15750