Beijing 2022

Hometown Hopefuls: Ashley Farquharson & Brittney Arndt, Luge

At age 12, Farquharson and Arndt took their very first luge run on the very same track on the very same day. A decade later, they're vying for 2 of the 3 spots on the Beijing-bound USA Luge Team.

By Jane Gendron December 15, 2021 Published in the Winter/Spring 2022 issue of Park City Magazine

Ashley Farquharson

Ashley Farquharson and Brittney Arndt are both strong contenders for 2022. Both love the pace and thrill of the sport. And both picked luge out of the Youth Sports Alliance’s afterschool program offerings back in sixth grade just for fun (albeit Farquharson did have a big brother’s sled tracks to follow). That sheer joy hasn’t dissipated.

“The only reason I’m still here is because it’s so much fun,” says Farquharson. “I always genuinely have a very good time when I’m sliding—and especially when I’m racing.” That fun factor, coupled with speed that sometimes tops out at 83 mph, makes for an ever-changing, never-boring sport.

Brittney Arndt

“It’s fast,” says Farquharson. “It’s really hard to describe because I’ve never done anything else like it. You’re fully in control of your entire environment, and everything you do will affect you. Breathe wrong, and it’s going to send you into a wall.” Arndt picks up her teammate’s train of thought. “It’s like a frozen waterslide,” she says. “But you control literally everything about it.”

Today, they travel the world together alongside their luge teammates, competing and training everywhere from Innsbruck to Sochi, and stateside at UOP and Lake Placid.

“We’re kind of the underdogs, Ashley and I, because we’re the younger ones,” explains Arndt, pointing to teammates Emily Sweeney and Summer Britcher as America’s seasoned lugers in Olympic contention.

Arndt and Farquharson have been steadily climbing the ranks, as they’ve successfully topped podiums on the junior circuit and are making some noise in World Cup–level competitions. Arndt, age 23, won a Junior World Cup and recently took sixth in a World Cup and fifth in a Sprint Cup. Farquharson, age 22, won the U23 bronze in last year’s World Championships and has several Junior National Championship titles on her resume.

Fast Facts

Local go-to-eats
AF: Clockwork Café (her family’s restaurant) and El Chubasco
BA: El Chubasco and Atticus

Favorite international track 
AF: Norway
BA: Altenberg, Germany

Favorite training snack
Gummy bears
BA: Peanut butter and pretzels

AF: Her family’s two rescue dogs: Milly, a German shorthaired pointer, and Aspen, an undetermined breed (maybe blue heeler/pitbull)
BA: Her family’s rescued chihuahuas, Tak and Harper

Pre-event rituals
AF: Listening to music and putting on her gloves in order: first left, then right
BA: Not superstitious. No rituals.

Other interests
AF: Baking
BA: Baking, Cooking, Gaming

Little-known tidbits
AF: German fans write her letters requesting signed bibs.
BA: She receives Instagram requests (often from German fans) for signed luge items.

It’s a friendly rivalry. As Farquharson says, “We’ve been doing this together for so long that we’ve learned how to be friends and teammates and competitors.”

If they both qualify for Beijing, they’ll be some of the first sliders to experience China’s brand-new track. And maybe, donning a Team USA uniform will be another “first'' this duo experiences together.

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