After-school luge program returns to UOP | ParkRecord.com

After-school luge program returns to UOP

USA Luge's After-School Luge Program has produced many of the sliders currently on the U.S. National and Junior National Teams.

Next month, young Park City athletes will have the chance to follow in those national athletes' footsteps when the program returns to the Utah Olympic Park.

Students in grades 3-7 can sign up for the three-day camp, which will run on Fridays, Oct. 28, Nov. 4 and Nov. 11.

Jon Owen of USA Luge said he always enjoys watching kids try a new sport, whether they stick with it or not.

"It's a repetitive program, so they progress up the hill and see themselves getting better," he said. "It's fun and exciting to see the kids getting better at something."

In just three sessions, Owen said the sliders progress quite a bit.

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"We start at curve 12, which is the lowest point you can start on the track," he said. "They're pushing almost 60 mph by the end of the three sessions."

From there, if a participant decides he or she would like to continue sliding, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the winter.

"[The after-school program] is early in the season — we are the very first sleds down the hill on the Olympic track," Owen said. "[Oct. 28] is the first day for the track. If they like what they're doing, it's the beginning of the season, so they can keep going."

If athletes decide to stay with the sport, Owen said there's an opportunity for fast progression.

"It actually does lead somewhere," he said. "This past season, of the four U.S. Olympians on the Youth Olympic Team, three of them participated in the after-school luge program here. Another girl from the program won both youth and junior national championships last year. So yes, it's fun and yes, it's cool, but it does lead to bigger things."

Registration is now open and ends Oct. 18. Owen said the program will eventually sell out.

"We fill up, but it's not like you have to sign up by Friday," he said. "We get registrations trickling in."

The program runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the three Fridays, with sliding taking place between 2:30 and 4. The cost is $100, which Owen said includes USA Luge membership and equipment rentals.

To register for the program, or for more information, call 435-647-3800, or e-mail parkcityluge@usaluge.org.

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