The Verizon Luge Challenge – Experience the Thrill

August 29, 2007 by  
Filed under features

Though luge has been around for centuries, not many people today know what it is or how it is done. However a company called ‘Verizon‘ has been attempting to change all this, bringing the challenge and appeal of this exciting thrill sport to people across the country.

If you are one of the many people who know little or nothing of luge, you will likely be asking yourself what it is. Luge is a sport wherein one or two people lie on a small sled, feet-first, as they hurtle down a pre-set track. The sport is similar in nature to skeleton and bobsledding and originated in the same place as both these sports – St Moritz in Switzerland.

The first official luge meeting took place in 1883 in Switzerland and luge enthusiasts have never looked back. Today it is usually practiced on the same tracks used for bobsledding or skeleton, but the starting point for luge may be a little further down the track. The sled is controlled by means of flexing the sled’s runners with the calf muscles or by exerting shoulder pressure on one side. Luge usually takes place individually, but a competitor version of the sport has arisen over the years wherein the competitors race against one another on the same track utilizing these small sleds.

The Verizon Luge Challenge was introduced in 1996 and has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people every year since. The event offers both children and adults a chance to experience the thrill of luge first-hand, but it uses a recreational form of the sled which does not quite reach the death-defying 145 km/h turns that some Olympic level sleds are able to reach on certain luge tracks. At each event the concept behind the sport is presented by the USA National Luge Team and proper technique is shown before participants give the sport a try. Those involved are able to practice and hone their skill several times each morning until the event culminates on an ‘Ultimate Slide’ challenge. The ‘Ultimate Slide’ is a complete track designed especially for the event. It features banked curves and timing equipment and is run on a sled made especially for snow instead of ice. Those participating in this final race are given racing bibs and are timed. Those with the fastest times in each age and gender category are given fantastic prize hampers.

The entire Verizon Luge Challenge event makes for a great family-orientated fun-filled outing. The event serves to educate the public about the nature of the sport, as well as increase sponsorship and support. This year it was held at resorts such as Thunder Ridge Ski Area and White Pass Ski Resort – both great resorts which are easily accessible. So why don’t you give it a try next year? You may just discover your dream sport!