Fun fact: Did you know that luge is one of the most precisely timed sports in the world?
Unless you're an avid Winter Olympics' fan, you might be wondering what luge is. This sport is similar to bobsledding in that athletes fly down a course on a sled, though the sled is much smaller in size. But unlike bobsledding, this is only a one- or two-person sport and the athletes, called lugers, start out on the sled rather than getting a running start.
On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16-17, you'll have the chance to see lugers fly down the track at over 70 mph in real life when Park City's Utah Olympic Park (UOP) hosts the Luge World Cup and the BMW Sprint World Cup. On the same dates and time, the UOP is also hosting its annual World Cup Holiday Festival. Admission to both is free and open to the public. Following are the details:
Lugers from more than 20 different countries will compete for a chance at the World Cup title, including men's, women's, and doubles events. The FIL World Cup kicks off at 3:30 p.m. with the first heat of doubles on Friday (no need to skip out on the slopes), followed at 6 p.m. by the men's races. On Saturday, the action starts earlier, at 11:25 a.m. when the women's heats begin. The BMW Sprint Cup starts at 2:10 p.m., featuring the best 15 sliders in a one-run heat with timing beginning 330 feet from the start. Here's the full race schedule:
Friday, December 16
- 3:30 pm - doubles race heat 1
- 4:40 pm - doubles race heat 2
- 6 pm - men's race heat 1
- 7:25 pm - men's race heat 2
Saturday, December 17
- 11:25 pm - women's race heat 1
- 12:40 pm - women's race heat 2
- 2:10 pm - doubles sprint cup race
- 2:55 pm - women's sprint race
- 3:35 pm - men's sprint race
World Cup Holiday Festival
Leave it to the UOP to create a whole celebration out of an athletic competition. While you're watching the athletes speed down the tracks you can rock out to live music performances and grab yourself a snack from the food trucks: Poutine Your Mouth (Fri.), Clark's Island Doughnuts (Sat.), and Kom Rads (Fri. + Sat.). Bands will play two hour sets, beginning with Motherlode Canyon Band at 6 p.m. on Friday, bluegrass artist Elizabeth Hareza at noon and Bill McGinnis at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The festival also offers visits and free photos with Santa and face painting on both days.
Sounds like it's going to be a whole lot of holiday fun. See you there!