USA Luge sliders headed to Norway for on-ice training
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) USA Luge is going halfway around the world in search of some winter.
More than a dozen American lugers are expected to be on the ice Monday in Lillehammer, Norway, for the start of training for the 2016-17 season. It's an international training week, and many other national teams are expected to be present.
''The first on-ice training every year is pretty exciting,'' said Erin Hamlin, the 2009 world champion and 2014 Sochi Olympics bronze medalist. ''Everyone has put a lot of work in all summer, and getting the chance to put it to use and see where we are for the real deal is great.''
The training is expected to last through Oct. 9, after which the Americans will return to their home base in Lake Placid - where ice is expected to be on the Mount Van Hoevenberg track by mid-October.
''It's about that time,'' U.S. men's luge veteran Chris Mazdzer said.
USA Luge is coming off a year where it claimed 18 World Cup medals, a record for the national team. American sliders will get a feel for where they stand against other sliders going into the season when the training week at Lillehammer ends, with an exhibition race schedule.
''Whenever the weather starts turning chilly, there is a growing anticipation for sliding,'' Hamlin said. ''Then it always sneaks right up on you and we're off and running. But I know I'm excited and looking forward to it. Being able to get on ice so early and have it be in an international setting is a great way to kick off the season.''
USA Luge's national championships start Oct. 28 in Lake Placid. Seeding races to determine the World Cup team for the first half of this season's schedule then resume on the 2010 Olympic track on Nov. 5 in Whistler, British Columbia, and conclude Nov. 11 at the 2002 Olympic track in Park City, Utah.
From there, the World Cup season starts Nov. 26 in Winterberg, Germany, followed by December stops in Lake Placid (starting Dec. 2), Whistler (starting Dec. 9) and Park City (starting Dec. 16).
''I feel like I'm a 14-year-old again,'' U.S. doubles slider Jayson Terdiman said. ''So ready to get back on ice and sliding.''