Canadian lugers find a different kind of ice to train on
CALGARY -- There may not be any ice on the sliding track at WinSport but that doesn’t mean Canada’s national luge team can’t find any nearby.
They just take their sleds and slide on over to the rinks at the world-class facility to get in some training on their starts.
It’s not the first time the lugers have used the rinks. Head coach Wolfgang Staudinger says they’ve trained on them since the summer since 2007.
"It’s a good monitoring tool because we’ve got a consistent surface and nice hard ice in the summertime," he said. "It helps develop technical skills and monitor them. This is the perfect tool."
In luge, like all of the sliding sports, it’s all about the numbers and doing whatever you can to shave anything off your time.
At 21, Reid Watts is just getting his career started. He says even though you’re not going downhill, these training sessions make complete sense.
"It’s a flat surface but, then again, we can slow things down and really see where our technical deficiencies lie so that when we do start going down the ramps we can really start to build on that."
Tristan Walker has been on the Canadian luge team since 2008. He has three World Cup podium finishes and he says training on the ice rink over the year has definitely helped him.
"You can see that we have the timing eyes out there. It’s a set distance that we have and it’s very replicable from year to year so the baseline and the standard that we’re shoot for is always to be dropping that number year by year."
It’s definitely different to see the lugers on the ice. Walker’s doubles partner Justin Snith says that when people walk by and see them training they usually do a double-take.
"There’s definitely a couple of looks every so often. People stop at the glass and watch for a couple of minutes or so," he says with a laugh.
"It’s definitely not the hockey or figure skating they’re used to seeing."