Get a Free Luge Lesson From Retired Olympians This Weekend

Just head to Blue Mountain Resort for some Winter Olympics fun.

The luge at Blue Mountain Resort. Photograph courtesy Blue Mountain Resort.

Yes, we know all of Philadelphia has just one sporting event on the brain right now: the Super Bowl. But consider this your friendly reminder that another major sporting event is just a couple of weeks away: the Winter Olympics.

For those of us who would rather do than just watch, we rounded up the best places to try out a ton of the Winter Olympic sports for yourself. While we found many places you can ski, snowboard, and ice skate around Philly, there was just one place you can luge (a.k.a. super-fast, feet-first sledding on a track): Blue Mountain Resort, an hour-and-a-half drive northwest of Philly.

This weekend, the resort’s luge track is open to the public, ages ten and up, for the USA Luge Challenge. For the event, there’s no need to buy a lift ticket — participation is totally free. What’s more, there will be retired Olympic luge athletes and luge coaches on site to coach you on the basics. After a lesson on accelerating, turning, and stopping on easy-to-steer plastic sleds, you’ll have a run at the timed course — with the chance to win some prices from the USA Luge organization.

While the day is a good chance to bring some attention to the sport of luge — and get more people excited to watch it in this February’s Winter Olympics — it’s also got a more serious purpose. The on-site coaches and athletes will be using the day as an opportunity to scout for potential future Olympians.

According to Dmitry Feld, a former luge coach who now works on the administrative side for USA Luge, the coaches are looking to scout kids ages ten through 14 who are quick at following directions, not afraid of speed, and adapt quickly to the form and steering of a luge sled. If selected, these kids could go on to train in Lake Placid, New York, or Park City, Utah, where USA Luge is based.

It may seem crazy that a ten-year-old out for a fun day at Blue Mountain could end up a luge Olympian, but it’s happened before: USA Luge scouted Summer Britcher — who’s headed to her second Olympics this year — at a USA Luge Challenge in 2007.

Ready to give luge a go? Grab your snow gear and head to Blue Mountain Resort on January 27 or 28. The free registration starts at 10 a.m. on both days.

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