The naked sledging competition in the Harz mountains of Germany, which thousands of people have been waiting for since the last icy run in February, has been cancelled for 2013 over safety fears.
More spectators turned up this year than people actually live in the town of Braunlage where the event has been held since 2009, leading to concerns about crowd control. The striptease-cum-sporting event has been steadily spiralling into a logistical nightmare as it attracted ever-growing numbers of gawping naked sledging fans. The problem peaked this February when around 25,000 spectators overran the otherwise sleepy Lower Saxony town.
Organisers were overwhelmed by the hour-long traffic jams of thousands waiting to catch an eyeful of the naked participants stripping before sliding down the mountainside on sledges. "When we get visitor numbers which are five times more than the inhabitants of the location, we've simply reached our logistical limits," head of organisers, radio station 89.0 RTL, Mike Bröhl said.
"It's a real shame," Christian Klamt, head of tourism in Braunlage said, adding that the event had been a great advertisement for the Harz tourist area. But Bröhl is hoping that naked sledgers will once again grace the slopes of Braunlage. "We'll have a break in 2013 and think about how we can continue this one-of-a-kind and wonderful event," he said.