What is the Luge?
(more details about the luge sled at
Luge, side view
Luge, bottom view
Luge, front view
The Luge is essentially a sled race. A group of
racers each go down a long, half-pipe-like track on a special kind of sled,
called a 'luge', and the racer who goes from the starting line at the top
to the bottom of the course in the shortest period of time wins. The
race is all downhill, and on ice, so the goal is to get moving as fast as
possible while still staying on the course.
Luges have two metal cufin, or runners, underneath a
small platform, on which the luger sits. The runners are bowed slightly
so that only a small portion of each runner actually touches the ice at any
given time. By leaning over, a luger is able to shift his or her weight
and adjust which portion of the runner is touching the ice on either side;
this causes the luge to turn.
The picture on the left, and the map on the right, are
from the Lake Placid luge course; this is a fairly typical competition course.
It is steep, and it has very sharp turns. A luger must have very
fast reflexes, and be well-trained, to even stay on the track.
(more detail and description at