US luge athletes leave to kick off season

People trying out the winter sport of luge Friday evening
People trying out the winter sport of luge Friday evening(WLUC)
Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 8:20 PM EST
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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - The luge season has begun and U.S. athletes left Sunday to compete.

But there are also opportunities for the sport in the U.P. Over a dozen people and families came out Friday evening to try their hand at luging. Professional athletes for the sport left for Austria to compete in several races. The United States Luge coach, Keith Whitman, said the team has already begun training.

“They had their own official training run today which you have to take before you can compete,” Whitman said. “Now, they’ll race tomorrow in the first Junior World Cup in Winterleiten in Austria.”

Whitman said the team will make multiple stops in Europe like Germany and Italy. Whitman said he is confident in his team’s abilities.

“They’re very good men and women--not just good athletes,” he said. “I’m very confident. if I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t be sending them over.”

For those curious about the winter sport, there are times you can reserve to luge in the U.P. The U.P. Luge Club President Autumn Bates said families are welcome to try out.

“Every Friday night from 6 to 9, we have a fully lit track,” Bates said. “We’re one of five in the world that has that, so we will fully light the track from 6 to 9 Friday and then Saturday is 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Then, Sunday is for like group reservations, and they just need to reach out to us.”

Bates said the track in Negaunee is a unique track for people to slide on.

“The Upper Peninsula Luge Club has the only full-length natural luge track in the Western Hemisphere,” she said. “You come out here and you luge on natural ice.”

For the latest details about the U.S. Natural Track Luge Team, you can check out their Facebook Page here.