"It’s hard to believe sitting in North Carolina’s 90 degree summer, but this past winter marked my first season on USA’s Bobsled Team. As a brakeman, my job is to help push the 400lb sled with my pilot at the start, then jump in and hold on tight till I pull the brakes at the bottom. It’s a wild ride, with no two runs the same, and no two tracks the same. Nonetheless, it’s addicting, exhilarating and a whole heap of fun! I have memories that go on for days, but here are my top choices, one from each stop of the season!
Lake Placid, NY
Lake Placid is Team USA’s home track and was our first stop on the tour. Sliding in front of a home crowd was incredible (cow bells galore!), and it made it even better that USA women swept the podium, my pilot – Olympian Jazmine Fenlator – and I placing 2nd! It was a super exciting start to the season.
My Point6 sock of choice for week 1 was the Hiking Tech Medium Crew. It wasn’t quite cold enough to need the knee high snow socks, but these socks kept my feet warm and cozy as I was still getting the hang of running on the ice!
Fun fact: Calgary’s track is the same one used in the film Cool Runnings! This was the first time I had been to Canada and I loved it. I’m originally from England, and I learned quickly that Canada was like an amazing hybrid of England and America – I found all my favorite treats (hello Hobnobs!!!). I can’t wait to go back next season Jazmine and I also raced really well, coming back in the second heat and tying for 4th place.
Week 2’s Point6 sock of choice was the Cycling Big Day Ultra Light Crew. Bobsled is a power/speed sport, and so we spend a lot of time in the weight room. These socks were light, breathable and super comfy while lifting weights AND sprinting on the track.
Altenberg was our first stop after the Christmas break, and marked the beginning of the European leg of the World Cup Season. It’s located in East Germany and is notorious for being one of the hardest tracks in the world. I also had my first crash here! Crashing in a bobsled is quite the experience – you can be travelling at speeds of up to 80 mph, and so when you flip, it happens in the blink of an eye and it takes you a second to figure out what’s going on! Luckily, your body immediately goes into survival mode, and other than the burning sensation you get when you’re being dragged along the ice, it’s not as horrific as you may imagine. We also have great safety gear, never sliding without our Kevlar™ burn vests and BMW helmets. Jaz and I placed 9th here in Altenberg.
My Point6 sock of choice for week 3 was the Ski Park Medium OTC. It was a little colder than it had been, and so these socks provided great warmth and were nice and padded for those tough training days!
Königssee means ‘the King’s lake’, and is home to one of the most beautiful lake’s I’ve seen – Lake Königssee. It’s located right at the bottom of the bobsled track, and so we got to see it every day coming to, and leaving, the track. Another landmark you can see from Königssee’s track is the Kehlsteinhaus, or the Eagle’s Nest. It was one of Hitler’s retreats back in the 1930’s, and is still open as a tourist site. It’s closed for visitors over the winter due to the snow, but is certainly quite an engineering feat nestle atop the mountain ridges! I did not race this week.
My favorite Point6 socks this week were the Compression Wave. As I wasn’t racing, I got some much needed recovery in – and these knee high compression socks were perfect for it. They give just the right amount of ‘squeeze’, leaving your legs less sore and raring to go in no time!
St Moritz, Switzerland
St Moritz is not only the birthplace of bobsled, but it looks just like a postcard – it’s sunny, snowy, mountainous and super beautiful. The track here is also the only natural track that they carve every year out of the ice that forms when it gets cold enough – so it’s a little different every year. You literally slide through the forest – there’s nothing quite like it! I didn’t race this week either.
My favorite Point6 socks in St. Moritz were the Snowboard / Gnargyle Medium OTC, because they kept me warm when this happened…
La Plagne, France
La Plagne’s track was built for the 1992 Winter Olympics, and sits high in the French Alps, super close to Italy. There are an enormous amount of ski resorts there, and even more amounts of delicious French food. We got there a day earlier than usual, so the brakemen were allowed to go on a track walk which involved walking up (or down!) the inside of the track so you can memorize the turns. Jazmine and I had the fastest down time on our second heat, and placed 4th here.
Week 6’s favorite Point6 socks were the Active Light Mini Crew. These little gems are a great versatile sock that works everywhere from lifting, to running, to sliding. They even work at breakfast, chowing down on croissants and pain ay chocolats!
Igls is yet another beautiful place, and the stop with the closest big(ger) city, Innsbruck! Our hotel was right on the busline, so every chance we got when we weren’t sliding or training we’d hop on and be around people in the city – we even found an H&M to get lost in for a hot minute I didn’t race here in Igls, but I did enjoy the view from the running track on training days…
My favorite Point6 socks for Igls were the Compression Ultra Light OTC. They helped me recovery much faster on a non-race (but high shopping!) week, and the merino wool still kept me warm when the temperatures dipped below freezing.
Sochi! Wow! This was where the 2014 Winter Olympics were held, and so had the nicest, most modern facilities of any track we’d been to. We were actually about 45 minutes outside of Sochi, staying in a little resort by the track. We normally lift weights in our hotel’s garage, but we didn’t have one here, so we ended up having to lift in the parking lot above the track! Jazmine and I placed 5th in Sochi.
Week 8’s favorite Point6 socks were the Running Ultra Light Micro. The weather was pretty mild in Sochi and they had an actual running track to warm up on, and so the ultra light micro was the ideal sock to get some sprints in while not getting too toasty!
Woo World Championships! On non-Olympic years, each season ends with the World Championships, which consists of 2-day competitions (or 4 heats) for all disciplines. I raced on USA-3 with my pilot of all season, Jazmine. It was an absolute incredible experience to race amongst the best in the world, and my parents from England got to come and cheer us on too! After 4 roller coaster heats, Jaz and I placed 6th and so made the podium. It was a perfect end to such a long season, and we already can’t wait to get back on the ice! Team USA also placed 1st and 5th, our most successful team finish ever! Go Team USA!
My favorite Point6 Socks for World Championship week were the Running Ultra Light No Show. These were my lucky race socks all season long, and fit perfectly under my ice spikes, while keeping my feet cushioned and protected. I love them!" - Natalie DeRatt