Each year, for the past 20 years, a group of dedicated individuals from Rossland’s Radical Luge Club puts together a course to show anyone who dares to lay back and fly down the mountain how to do it.
Mike “Slo” Curry has been a luge enthusiast for 25 years and joined the club as soon as he moved to the area.
“We’re all skiers and boarders, this is just another mountain sport to do,” Curry said. “We’re all tobogganers by heart. The sleds give more control, compared to inner tubes or crazy carpets. Not to diss those things, but this is the goods.”
The luge that the club practices is the precursor to Olympic luge, he explained.
“We Rosslandized them by putting skis on them,” he said. “They usually come with metal runners or something like that. we just rip skis and put them on there so we can ski on a little bit more snow; specialized luges.”
The event is put together so that all ages can participate, and the only prerequisites are a helmet, goggles and snow boots. Of course a healthy sense of adventure doesn’t hurt.
The club put on two days of learning to luge, Friday and Saturday, and had more than 70 people show up. About 20 racers came out to test their luge skills against veterans like “Slocan” Mike and Danimal, for the Olaus Invitational BC Luge Race.
“Friday and Saturday we had a ton of people,” he said. “It was busy. We had a line up. Two days of learn to luge clinics, just to introduce people to it. This is the core that comes out and does the race day.”
Those who raced their three runs in the invitational with control and competence were allowed to join the Radical club. Club members are allowed to partake in Rino’s run after the hill closes.
Slo said that Rino’s is a very fast course on luge and people have been known to reach speeds over 100 kph, making it for the extreme members.
“It takes a big group of volunteers to do it. I’d like to give a big shout out to everybody that helps,” he said. “It doesn’t happen without everybody helping.”
Slo explained that Mike Williams started the club in Rossland in 1991.
“They had a clinic here in 1990 and the next year he started the club,” he said. “I moved to Slocan and I heard about it and I’ve been hanging out here ever since, mostly for the powder skiing, but luge is a bonus.”
Danimal is also a founding member, he added.