The name "Skilleton" is inspired by "Skeleton", the ridiculously crazy "sport" where one hurls themselves down a bobsleigh run, on a luge, face first.
Skilleton tries to reproduce that zany idea, mix in a bit of curling aesthetic, plus a pinch or two of freestyle performance skill.
You'll need a clean, flat ice surface, bookended by a snow or land surface that offers enough grip for competitors to run on and launch from. The length of the ice is dependent on the type of competition. Racing Skilleton needs a defined finish line. Distance Skilleton needs enough ice to allow competitors to outdo each other's range. Freestyle Skilleton requires no defined end goal, and may in fact benefit from a round, open sheet.
Jousting Skilleton requires two ends from which opponents can simultaneously launch. *A word of caution, Jousting Skilleton is potentially dangerous and could lead to serious injury. Don't try this at home (try it at a lake instead):
Jousting Skilleton is not yet officially recognised by CASA (Canadian Association of Skilleton Athletes). The above video was recorded during a standard Racing Skilleton match - hence why no point was awarded.
So let's walk you through the basic equipement requirements before a short discussion on technique. Have a look to refresh your memory:
As this video illustrates, a standard circular sled will serve as your curling chariot. There has been some light discussion regarding waxing the sled's base, but that remains just an idea at this stage of the sport's development. In any case, any saucer shaped sled is enough to get you started. However a serious competitor will add padding inside the sled both for comfort and for safety. In our example, the addition of a cottage chair cushion led to the genesis of this future Olympic discipline.
You want to launch as efficiently as possible. Run towards the launch point as quickly as you can, holding your sled in front of you. DO NOT JUST THROW YOURSELF DOWN AS HARD AS YOU CAN. The goal is to transition from running to sliding as smoothly as possible. Think of yourself a smoothie pouring from the blender. Just let it flow.
Once you're on the ice, you'll want to arch yourself backwards as much as possible.
If you have other suggestions as to how one can improve their racing speed, launch or overall body position, please contribute by adding to the comments section below.
We'll discuss freestyle technique and strategy next.