Topless tobogganing divides German town

Citizens of the east German town of Oberwiesenthal finds itself at odds with a nearby ski resort this week, as plans for a controversial topless tobogganing event, scheduled to take place next month, move ahead.

Yes, you read that correctly. A “topless tobogganing” event is being hosted on a nearby mountain, with a local property developer offering up travel and prize money for those that compete. The developer in question, Jochen Nske, says he has “considerable support” for his big promotion, and claims that a similar event drew more than 12,000 spectators last year. That rowdy crowd lined the slopes of a resort in the Harz mountains to watch young slide down the mountain in little more than a helmet, bikini bottoms and a smile.

Despite the fact that the even is likely to bring a lot of visitors to Oberwiesenthal, the locals would rather Nske and his competition stay well away. The major of the town fears such an event would tarnish the reputation of his fair city, while others complain that it is sexist and demeaning towards women. The town council will vote later in the week on whether or not to allow Nske to move ahead as planned.

For his part, Nske seems unmoved by the controversy. He says that if he’s voted off the mountain, he’ll simply move across the border to Czech Republic and host the event there instead.

Much like curling, this topless tobogganing will not get the respect it deserves until it is officially recognized by the Olympics.