Much of the sliding track at Königssee, Germany has been washed away, after torrents of floodwater pushed through large segments of the facility and turned it into piles of rubble.
German officials said Sunday they were evaluating the damage, though it was clear that large areas of the track — which has played host to major international bobsled, skeleton and luge events for more than 50 years — would have to be rebuilt.
The Königssee area is one of many in Western Europe that has felt the wrath of storms in recent days. Floods were blamed for at least 180 deaths in Germany and Belgium through Sunday, and police said they feared the number would continue rising. More than 100 people in the Berchtesgaden area, which includes Königssee, were evacuated after the Ache River swelled.
“It’s so sad,” said Natalie Geisenberger, the two-time Olympic women’s luge gold medalist for Germany who considered Königssee her home track.
Races that were planned there this fall and winter will not be held, said Thomas Schwab, the secretary general of the German bobsleigh and luge federation. There were no immediate reports of injuries at the track, which had fans taking rides down the track on wheeled sleds Saturday afternoon — before mudslides and huge plumes of water began ripping through the facility that night.
“Unbelievable,” retired German women’s bobsled standout Susi Erdmann said on Facebook. “My former home track at Königssee is just washed away.”