Arrowhead Ranch on Camano Island hosting USA Luge’s Slider Search
May 20, 2019
One-by-one, turn-by-turn, the kids improved and their smiles grew.
“It’s thrilling,” Sawyer Coburn, 13, said after his third trip down the hill on the luge sled. “It feels like Indiana Jones or something. You feel like you’re in danger being that close to the ground at that velocity, but that’s fun.”
Cobrun was one of 40 or so 9- to 13-year-olds to trek to Arrowhead Ranch on Camano Island on Saturday and Sunday to give luge a try.
The event is part of US National Luge Team’s national Slider Search program. Children selected at Camano Island will be invited to learn the sport on ice this winter in Park City, Utah, the 2002 Olympic luge site.
Incorporating sleds on wheels, the luge team’s Slider Search program is an off-season recruitment effort traveling the nation each summer and fall looking for future Olympic athletes in the sport. The public is encouraged to attend the event, which will give boys and girls an opportunity to learn luge — and even qualify to join the USA Luge Junior National Development team.
Eleven-year-old twins Kylie and Olivia Landberg came from Puyallup to give the sport a try during the sunny Saturday afternoon.
“I love this,” Kylie said. “Going down on the ice would be fun.”
“I like the feel,” Olivia said. “I like how much control you have.”
The search “is critical to finding luge athletes to represent the United States who will someday go for the gold,” said Gordy Sheer, director of marketing and sponsorships for USA Luge, and 1998 Olympic silver medalist. “A morning or afternoon of trying something fun and new could be the first step down a path to glory.”
The kids — using sleds on wheels to cruise down the soap box derby track — received instruction from Olympic sledders John Fennell and Aidan Kelly, who each competed in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“We’re hoping to grow the sport,” Fennell said. “So we’re bringing the sleds to the kids.”