FIL - Natural Track Luge - World Championships St. Sebastian (AUT) - News

Natural track luge: action packed luge races

World Championships 2015

St. Sebastian (AUT), January 16-18, 2015

Natural track luge – that’s suspense, high speed, and

winter sport in a classical style. This variation of luge looks back on

a long history and has developed from the first ever international luge

race at Davos, Switzerland, back in 1883. In the 1960s, artificial

track luge emerged as an own discipline. In the winter of 2014/15, the

world’s best natural track lugers compete at the World Cup and the World

Championships of the “Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course”

(FIL).

Unlike artificial luge tracks, natural tracks are

adapted from existing mountain roads and paths. Artificially banked

curves are not permitted. The track’s surface must be horizontal. As the

use of artificial refrigeration is forbidden, they are naturally iced.

Natural track luge requires a completely different technique than on an

artificial track. At the start, the athletes gain momentum by

“paddling”, dragging their hands on the ice to move forward. In order to

drive around the tight flat corners, athletes use a steering rein, drag

their hands and use their legs. Braking is often required in front of

curves and is accomplished by the use of spikes built on the bottom of

the shoes. A seat holds the athletes on their luges during the braking

and steering manoeuvres. At the finish line, a lot of times hundredths

of a second decide over victory or defeat.