Local is making name for herself on USA Luge teams | ParkRecord.com

Local is making name for herself on USA Luge teams

In 2010, Brittney Arndt moved with her family from her hometown in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area to Park City. She was just 12 years old and at that point in her life was really new to the whole winter sports scene that this area embraces.

"I had no idea what luge was," Arndt said.

That all changed shortly after making Park City her new home. As a middle schooler at Ecker Hill, Arndt made a friend with someone who was involved in the sport, which led to her joining an after-school program. For three Fridays in a row, she would be picked up, along with the other kids in the program, after school to go up to the ice track and get some runs in.

She enjoyed this so much that she ended up joining the Wasatch Luge Club, and it didn't take her long to get a knack for the sport. Arndt was selected to the junior national developmental team within the following year, which was just the beginning of her journey as luge racer.

Now, Arndt is one of the best luge riders for her age — she's now 18 — on the USA junior luge team and recently was named the USA Luge Junior Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.

"It's really cool for me because I'm really young," Arndt said of receiving the award. "It means a lot going into the next couple of years with the Olympics coming up. It puts me ahead. It's something that keeps you going."

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Six years ago, not everyone believed Arndt could have success at the national level. Starting the sport at age 12, she was already behind other kids who had been training since they were 8 or 9, the ideal age to start, says Arndt.

That didn't keep her from achieving her goals, though. She even sacrificed her experience as a high school student, taking online classes and graduating early so that she could train this past summer with the senior national team in Lake Placid, New York.

"It definitely happened really fast," Arndt said. "When I started sliding, they pretty much just told me that I was too old and that I wasn’t going to go anywhere. … I was kind of late coming into the sport, but I did everything that I could to get better and faster every season."

It has paid off. Since coming onto the scene a few years ago, Arndt has been filling her trophy case with awards, including winning the Norton Junior National Championships the last two years, the same years she won the USA Luge Junior Female Athlete of the Year award.

More recently, Arndt has been training with the senior national team for the last few weeks, including this weekend at Utah Olympic Park. She has traveled to places like Norway and Lake Placid to train with the team, working with the likes of Erin Hamlin and other Olympic athletes who, Arndt says, have been pushing her to limits the junior team might not have been able to.

Her time with the senior team will end shortly, though, as she will return to the junior team in Whistler, B.C., on Monday. Arndt will train with the team for about four days there and another couple of weeks in Calgary before participating on the Junior World Cup circuit

After that, Arndt and company will head to Europe for more training before the holidays, come back for a week or so, then head back to Europe for the rest of the junior circuit and the Junior World Championships.

"I'm not going to sleep in my bed for five months, which is just crazy," she said.

Arndt says she is grateful for the path that luge has provided her, going from Wisconsin to Park City to all over the world. Though the sport was foreign to her upon moving to Utah, she has developed a love for luge racing that is hard for her to describe.

"Racing is extremely stressful, but when you do really well in a race, you feel really good about yourself because you accomplished something," Arndt said.