Like every summer France 3 Franche-Comté makes you discover the activities offered in our beautiful region. Our journalists Sarah Rebouh and Pascal Sulocha tested the new 4-season luge, which opened on July 14 in Métabief. Story and pictures.
La marseillaise à pétanque 2022, 61st edition of the world
No time to get bored on sunny days in Franche-Comté. The region is certainly small, but abounds in activities of all kinds, especially for people eager for thrills and unusual leisure activities.
One of the novelties of the summer of 2022 had been awaited for a year on the Haut-Doubs side. This is the brand new 4-season sled built in Métabief, replacing the summer sled, on wheels, which is nearly 40 years old. It bears the name of “Luge des cimes”. For 4.25 million euros, with funding from the Department of Doubs, the State, the Burgundy-Franche-Comté Region and the mixed syndicate of Mont d’Or, the mid-mountain resort continues its diversification of activities and does not skimp on investments, at a time when the challenges linked to global warming are increasingly important and decisive for the economy of ski resorts.
With 710 m in length, 103 m in elevation and a top speed of 40 km/h, we are promised thrills on paper. That’s all we need to hit the road to the Haut-Doubs resort on a hot day in July, just a few days after the opening of the 4-season toboggan run to the public. Arrived on site, we immediately notice the metal rails winding along the slope. The tobogganing facilities have been built at the foot of one of the ski slopes, just behind the friendly and pretty restaurant bar “Chez Zaza”.
A brand new building, rather pretty, serves as a boarding hall. Tickets in hand, at the price of 7 euros for a descent (details in the practical information below), we deposit our belongings in a free locker located at the entrance before joining the departure area. It’s like being in an amusement park, minus the huge queue, which is not displeasing to us.
In the attraction, people of all ages wait a few minutes before climbing to the top, well wedged in the toboggan. You can even go up in pairs, but we admit that we prefer to play it solo. We each sit in a sledge, one behind the other. An agent is there to check that the safety instructions are being followed. Straight back, legs bent at 45 degrees, the seat is very comfortable. We are asked to fasten our seat belts, just like in a car. We notice two red levers on each side of our seat. “Push to move forward, pull to brake. No need to operate the levers in the climb, it happens all by itself” explains Sébastien, in charge of security on the attraction with Emmanuel, a seasonal worker. He asks us if we are ready. Sure ! We can’t wait to go up but above all to go down at full speed!
The ascent lasts a few minutes, peaceful, in the middle of the fir trees. The sun is beating down this day, but we take advantage of it since we haven’t forgotten our sunglasses and slather on sunscreen. The toboggan tows us effortlessly and we admire the magnificent landscape that surrounds us. We observe amused mountain bikers who tumble at full speed on the dirt track, intertwined with the rails. This is one of the red runs which has been rehabilitated to pass as close as possible to the equipment.
The starting point for the crazy descent is approaching. The excitement is rising slowly. The toboggan stops, we take the time to read the explanatory panels and we understand that it is time to activate the levers. Let’s play ! We push on the two levers and the sledge takes off. Our brain races and the machine with it. We turn to the right, to the left, we go up, we go down, we brake before the bend, and we accelerate fully afterwards. Our hair is in the wind, the sensations are good and we quickly understand that we have to drive to be able to fully enjoy it.
Indeed, the sled has an automatic braking system which is activated when approaching bends if the speed is too high, or if you arrive too close to the sled of the neighbor below. By pushing on the levers continuously, you lose speed at unexpected times and it clearly spoils the fun. The ideal is therefore to play the pilots and get caught up in the game by activating the levers. This makes it possible to avoid automatic braking as much as possible and to take advantage of all the sensations of sliding. After about 1 minute 30 of crazy descent, return to the starting point, not without a nice smile on your face. We get off the machine. It was short, but fun. It makes us want to start again to improve our sliding technique.
The activity is suitable for all people over 1m35 for a solo descent. Children can climb accompanied by an adult from 3 years old.
The rates vary from 7 euros for a single descent to 5 euros per descent for 50 descents. This obviously comes at a cost, especially for large families, even if the activity is free for children under 5 years old.
Openings 2022: every day in July and August, weekends in September and Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the All Saints holidays. The toboggan will also be open in winter, even accessible in ski boots and winter overalls.
There are nocturnal descents: as soon as night falls, the lights and music come on for descents in a colorful and musical atmosphere.