Luge challenge accepted!

A free day of luge track events takes place at Titus Mountain in Malone on Jan 19-20. (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

One of the many wonderful things about living near or visiting an Olympic town is the ability to try unusual sports. My children have been able to casually mention to family and friends that they tried ski jumping, biathlon (paintball because small children shouldn’t have guns, right?), and even got a seat in a bobsled. The sport that has always held the most mystery and where they had the most fun, was the luge slider searchers.

The winter version of the White Castle Slider Search is the Casella Resource Solutions USA Luge Challenge. The USA Luge headquarters is right in Lake Placid so these grassroot programs takes place right in our backyard. Various ski mountains around the country offer a day of sliding with prizes, giveaways, and Q&A. This year, Jan. 19-20, Malone’s Titus Mountain is hosting two days of luge for patrons and guests. Registration begins at 10 am each day.

The free two-day event does not require a ski pass, but anyone stopping by will need to dress for the weather. If you are skiing or tubing that weekend, it’s a quick stop by to register and get onto the course. Special plastic sleds are used for people of all ages to try out luge. That is right. The Luge Challenge is not just for children, but for everyone. Times are kept and there will be members of USA Luge there is keep an eye out for that next Olympian. That doesn’t mean parents, grandparents, and neighbors can’t act out their own Olympic dreams.

No experience is necessary. USA Luge athletes and coaches give a mini lesson on the basics of steering, acceleration, and stopping before adults and children (10 and older) can take practice runs down the icy, curvy track. Young athletes showing potential will be offered a chance to participate in a luge camp at the Lake Placid headquarters.

This is the only Luge Challenge scheduled in our area for this year. If you miss this, you have to find your way to Blue Mountain Ski Area in Palmerton, PA. FYI, my children were never discovered during any of the Olympic searches. They are firmly situated in the stands. They still had fun and were able to meet future Olympians. They now watch the winter Olympics, searching for names they recognized. Enjoy that Olympic spirit and trying the “fastest sport on ice.” Go to Teamusa.org/usa-luge/luge-challenge for additional information.

Diane Chase is the author of the “Adirondack Family Activities” guidebook series, “Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities.” For more family-friendly

activities go to www.adirondackfamilytime.com.

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