Racing sport

It took years before tobogganing became a racing sport. It all began in Switzerland, where the first international sled race took place in Davos in 1883. Only Swiss sledges were allowed - the best known is the Davos sledge.

In Austria Tyrol and Styria played the pioneering role in tobogganing. In Absam and Hall there was already enthusiastic tobogganing in the 1880s. In 1890 the first prize tobogganing with Absamer miner Johann Laimgruber took place in Halltal. His "Böckln" had runners made of naturally curved wood with rails and belt seats.

Dr. Adolf Rziha was a pioneer of tobogganing and the founder of Styrian tobogganing technology. The “Leobner Stahlrodel” was internationally successful in toboggan races at the beginning of the 20th century. The Tyrolean tobogganers rode wooden toboggans that were continuously developed.

In 1910 stick tobogganing was banned on Halltaler and Viller Straße, as the 2 m long stick, which was used for better guidance, was too dangerous for tobogganing. The next important development was taken at the Austrian championship in 1911 by the Oberaudorfer Hans Gfäller and Karl Hagen. With their small wooden sledges, they were superior to the heavy Styrian and Bohemian steel sledges, as the inclined supports only hit the rail with the inner edges of the rails. This made them easy to steer and easier to keep on track.

The multiple European champion (1934, 1935, 1937 and 1938) Martin Tietze from Brückenberg, Sudeten revolutionized the toboggan technique. He came to the German Luge Championship in Igls in 1941 with his new sledge, which was characterized by its low construction, mobility and optimal maneuverability due to the inclined and movably mounted wooden runners.
The Tyrolean toboggan builders Johann Isser, Rupert and Johann Gasser further developed the toboggan technique in Matrei based on the model of the Tietzerodel.
At the 1951 European Championships in Igls, the mobile Tietze and Gasser toboggans stood out from the rigid Holmenkollen or Davos sledges with up to 5 m long steering rods and the Sterzinger toboggans.
All newer luge are further developments of this type of toboggan.