USA Luge Opens Sliding Season in Lake Placid

By Sandy Caligiore | Oct. 08, 2015, 1:47 p.m. (ET)

USA Luge opens sliding season in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – USA Luge Olympian Aidan Kelly took the first official run of the season Thursday morning on the mile-long track of ice on Mount Van Hoevenberg, outside Lake Placid.

With the sun shining and temperatures in the low 30s, Kelly, of West Islip, N.Y., a competitor in Sochi, went through the 19-turn luge course against a backdrop of blazing fall colors.

“It was a great morning,” said Kelly, whose 2014-2015 World Cup campaign was curtailed due to injury. “It feels good to be back after a long off-season. It’s nice to know I remember how to slide.

“The track was amazing. It was way faster than any of us expected. The track crew did a ton of work to get it fast for us.”

Kelly had three of his Sochi teammates, among others, join him for the first day of fall training. The athletes completed four runs each before giving way to United States bobsledders.

“In past years I’ve always been really nervous for the first run of the season,” remarked Summer Britcher, of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, whose career best fourth place came last winter in the Winterberg, Germany World Cup race. “It felt really fast (in the past). This season it was kind of like riding a bike. I got up to the start handles and I was ready to slide. Right from the first run I felt really comfortable.”

Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman are starting their second season as a doubles unit. They competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics with different doubles teammates.

“We’re coming into the season knowing we slide really good together,” said Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y. “For us today was all about what the track was going to be like. The guys out here did a great job. Jayson and I had a really good session. We’re starting the season on a really good foot.”

The twosome finished seventh in the World Cup rankings last winter and anchored three U.S. medals in the team relay.

“This is absolutely the best first day conditions I’ve ever felt in Lake Placid,” added Terdiman, of Berwick, Pennsylvania. “I was really super happy with how consistent we were today. Between runs the track didn’t slow down or speed up that much. To see that is a big confidence boost for me.”

The team will train daily through October, and will be joined later this week by teammates who are now returning to Lake Placid from Lillehammer.

The World Cup campaign begins November 28-29 in Igls, Austria, followed by World Cup events in Lake Placid December 4-5, Park City, Utah December 11-12 and Calgary, Canada December 18-19.