On Sunday the first Galtür Zipflbob World Championships take place. It sounds like fun – and it is fun, but you should probably know a couple of things beforehand about zipflbobs – or one-person minibobs – to make it even better. Eight basic facts:

1 The forefathers of today‘s zipflbob riders were pretty tough. They tore down the mountain sitting on coal shovels. These days there are stylish zipflbobs made in plastic, in seven different colours or with a Milka design. In the seventies there were plastic bobs in neon colours, too – unfortunately, though, they weren’t a success.

2 The first ever zipflbob was invented in Kitzbühel. In 1970 Sigmund Leger had his invention patented and set to work to make his product successful on a large scale. In classic style, the inventor of the zipflbob drove round all the sports shops in his VW bus to get his “mini bob” onto the market.

3 The fastest zipflbob rider was a certain Frederik Eiter, who made it into the Guiness Book of Records with a speed of 157.34 km/h.

4 Ten zipflbob riders from Wenigzell in East Styria can also be found in the Guiness Book of Records – together they hold the world record for riding a zipfelbob for 24 hours (they are also the only people to have ever tried it – Ed.)  They covered a total of 2 104km in 24 hours on a bob. Why on earth did they do it? They came up with the idea “after a couple of beers.”

5 But that’s still probably not the craziest thing which anyone’s ever tried to do with a zipfelbob. In 2004, Slovenian extreme mountain climber Pavlek Levpist took a zipflbob with him on his trip to Mount Everest – and rode down from the summit with it. Well, he started from 178 metres below the summit, to be precise, although it doesn’t really make much of a difference.

6 There have been zipflbob races in different disciplines since 1999 – such as the Zipflbob Cross (a bit like ski cross) or speed races. The first Zipflbob World Series took place in 2002, and there’s been a Zipflbob Federation since 2009.

7 The starting signal for zipflbob races is Ready – Zipfl – Go! In theory that should also be the case in Galtür tomorrow. And if the starting official gives another command, then he should be reminded of the strict international rules of zipflbob racing. Or let us know here at Trisanna, and we’ll take care of it.

8 Never call it a sledge, or if you do, not within its earshot. A zipflbob has feelings, too.

You can find more information on the 1st Galtür Zipflbob World Championships here.