ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on February 3, 2010

The Luge is a small sled. The word is French. Lugeing is a form of tobogganing and is both a recreational and a competitive sport. It has been practiced in Europe for decades and gained popularity in North America in the 1960's. It is easy to learn, inexpensive, and yet challenging for serious competitors.

The Sled and the Course

The luge is about 4 feet (1.2 meters) in length and weighs up to 44 pounds (20 kg). It is usually made of wood with steel runners, no more than 19 inches (48 cm) apart, and is equipped with a leather seat. Because of its extreme flexibility, the luge is easily steered down snow-covered roads or special ice and snow chutes. In competition it reaches speeds of 65 miles (105 km) per hour or more.

The sitting rider holds a leather strap attached to the front of the runners and leans, almost lies, back for maximum speed- one hand on the strap and the other on the side of the sled. Steering is accomplished by three basic maneuvers: (1) pulling up on the forward part of the inside runner (left turn, left runner; right turn, right runner), causing the rear portion of this runner to drag and slow down a bit; (2) pushing the front of the outside runner to the inside, by using the foot and leg as a lever in the sled frame; and (3) placing more body weight over the outside runner, causing it to travel slightly faster than the inside runner. When two persons luge on one sled, the front person steers.

Lugeing is often done on natural runs, but greatest speeds are attained on prepared tracks. These special courses are usually about 3,000 feet (915 meters) long, an 11% slope being desirable. The course consists of about 15 banked turns ranging from 10 to 15 feet (3-4.5 meters) high and varying from only a slight change of direction (curve) to a high-banked hairpin. The curves generally are more steeply banked and higher than in bobsledding.


Olympic and other international competitions are held on single-seaters for men and women and double-seaters for men. Each nation is allowed four men and three women in singles and two teams of doubles. Singles are allowed four runs and doubles two. Winners are decided by the best combined times of all runs in each category. Rules require the use of helmet, goggles, and aluminum caps for knees and elbows.


Although forms of sledding have been practiced in many places for centuries, luge-ing probably originated in the European Alps. It was first popularized in the 1880's by tourists. The first luge record dates from 1883. A significant development occurred in the 1930's when Martin Tietze of Austria invented a flexible sled, which increased steering capabilities. As the sport developed, roads were closed to other traffic, and eventually special runs were designed and constructed.

The first European lugeing championship was held in Reichenberg, Austria, in 1914; the first world championship at Oslo, Norway, in 1955; and the first Olympic competition in 1964 in Innsbruck, Austria. In 1957 lugeing was given its own governing body, the Federation Internationale de Luge de Course (FIL).


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)