Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Learning to Luge: The Fastest Sport on Ice

Luge2_newThis summer children are invited to test their skills at “the fastest sport on ice.” Based in Lake Placid, the USA Luge headquarters runs a series of free Learn-To-Luge programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 pm from the transfer station road to the dump throughout the summer months.

According to Recruitment and Development Manager Fred Zimny this is the third year for these local clinics where the mobile luge starting ramp is moved to the entrance of the Lake Placid transfer station (Dump Rd.) after hours and children ages 8-13 learn to slide on real luge sleds.

“These free clinics are open to everyone. We are in our third year and the summer program dovetails right into our winter luge where kids can try the refrigerated track,” says Zimney. “The winter program usually starts in December and runs through February, but the best place for a schedule would be our website.”

Beginners should bring a long sleeve shirt and sweatpants. All children are welcome to come back weekly. There will be a variety of coaches and team members strategically placed along the 300’ section of paved road. The course has a slight downward slope that ends with an incline. The incline naturally slows down the luge sled mimicking a real luge track

“In the last 25 years we have found the majority of our national teams through the Slider Search programs,” says Zimney. “That is how we get them involved. We want this to be a fun productive session for new kids. We want them to come out and experience luge and see if they like it.”

In addition to the children’s Learn-To-Luge, USA Luge will be hosting a public competition with categories for boys and girls (ages 15 and below), men and women (ages 16 and up) and experienced racers of either gender on Friday, August 9 from 5-8 pm at the Lake Placid Sliding Center’s refrigerated luge start-training complex.  The event kicks off with three hours of coaching and training with start tips from Olympic and National luge team members. After a few training runs, guests will take their official run which will count toward prizes for the top three finish times, in each category.

Another fun event to benefit future Olympians is the New York Ski Educational Foundation’s (NYSEF) Summer Benefit at the Lake Placid Horseshow Grounds on August 10 from 6:30 – 10 pm. Open to people 21 and over, the NYSEF event is a fundraiser to support athletes of all ages in Alpine, Freestyle and Cross-Country Skiing, Ski Jumping, Snowboarding, Biathlon and Nordic Combined. Touting an international menu, music and a silent auction, this event will also serve as a celebration of NYSEF’s 40 years in supporting youth, snow sports and an Olympic tradition.

Photo of Learn-To-Luge clinic courtesy Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com.

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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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