BLOFELD’S ESCAPING! Bond chasing Blofeld down the mountain sees him run into the shack at the top of the bobsled run. Suddenly, Blofeld bursts out of the shack in a bobsled heading down at breakneck speed. Bond grabs the next sled to give chase. At 80 mph Blofeld sees Bond gaining behind him and tries to turn and shoot but handling a careening bobsled and a handgun proves tricky. Blofeld gets off a few shots. Bond shoots back! Grabbing both steering rings in one hand, Blofeld attempts to pull the pin of a hand-grenade with his teeth but drops the grenade in the footwell of the sled. With seconds to spare he grabs the grenade and hurls it behind him, blowing up Bond’s sled and throwing him from the icy run. This is the final chase between James Bond and Ernst Stavro Blofeld in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, arguably one of the best films of the series. Watching this scene always keeps me on edge. The speed of the sleds down the icy shoot, smashing into the sides and banging their heads on the ice wall. Although much of it was done in a studio with rear projection, some of it was done for real with stuntmen.
Growing up in New York, I always had fun in the winter, skating, skiing and sledding when I was kid. I also always enjoyed the winter Olympics as well. This scene in OHMSS always held special excitement for me, so when I found out that anyone can go on an actual Olympic bobsled run, I was ecstatic! Lake Placid, NY was the host for the 1980 Winter Olympic games and it’s only a 4 hour drive from my house. It’s a shame I haven’t taken more advantage of this as the town of Lake Placid is also one of the most beautiful in the whole state. With only a few streets, Lake Placid is strewn with amazing cafe’s, shops and bucolic mountain inns. And it has kept most of, if not all of its olympic venues intact. Many of the US olympians still use the Lake Placid facilities to practice to this day and it hosts national competitions for many top level winter sporting events.
The bobsled run is part of the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex as it was back in 1980. Although the current bobsled run is a raised, refrigerated modern track, the original was cut out of the earth. However, the current run is much more intense as a racing course, with higher banking and deeper pitches.
As my wife and I were helmeted and led to the sled, I noticed I was the first to get in. “Wait where’s the pilot?!” I yelled. For a split second I thought they were just going to send us down the run and hope for the best. No, he was right there, it was the driver who gets us to sit properly in the cockpit. He then jumps in and within seconds the light turns green, the counter starts and we are pushed on our way!
Controlled chaos is the only way I can describe it. The sled shakes violently as we hit speeds of 60mph! My head hits the roll-bar several times and my neck is whipped side to side from the massive G-forces, The sled goes up on a 90˚ angle on the side only to be whipped back 90˚ on the other side! Into the light, then a tunnel and through another sharp curve that presses me down like a giant foot! This is an almost out of control ice rollercoaster that can crash! And in less than a minute it’s done. A crew waiting at the end grabs us and pushes us back onto a platform to be extracted as swiftly as we came down.
I can’t imagine doing this several times a day as an olympian, I can’t imagine having a fight scene taking place on these things and I really can’t imagine having to handle pistols and hand grenades because I was holding on for dear life! After skydiving this was one of the most thrilling experiences I ever had. If you are ever in Lake Placid (or near one of the other very few bobsled runs in the world) and want to have a truly unique Bond experience, then go to the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex and sign up! But do it early online because they sell out fast.
Watch the full video of this adventure and many more on my YouTube channel ‘Always Say YES to Adventure!’ https://www.youtube.com/@yestoadventure007 and follow my crazy exploits on Instagram @sifu_lamas.
Last modified: 3 January 2024