The luge typically isn’t something you think of kids doing for a winter sport; people usually only notice it during the Olympics.
The Upper Peninsula Luge Club operates out of the county’s only natural luge track on Lucy Hill in Negaunee. The club offers an after school programs for kids to learn the sport.
“We start out with basic skills, learning how to brake, how to steer,” luge coach Tammy Wills said. “There are some kids doing this strictly for fun, there’s others that have aspirations to make the national team.”
“We work with all skill levels, and try to develop each athlete to be to the best of their ability.”
It’s important to first pick out a helmet and special luge boots. The boots are similar to ski boots, but have a spike in front to help stop the sled.
Wills will then go over the basics of sitting, steering, and stopping on the luge.
“The primary way we steer is using our legs to push on the curved part of the sled called the kufen,” she said. “If you press with your left leg you’ll go right, if you press with your right leg you’ll go left. We also steer by leaning with our body and putting our hands out sometimes down on the ice.”
Steering is a common problem have when people learn to luge.
“They think too much,” Wills said. “I think if you just relax and have fun, the steering comes more naturally. You lean into a corner similar as you would riding a bike.”
For more information, including luge sledding times, click here for The Upper Peninsula Luge Club’s website.