Riding the Luge and Celebrating 30 Years at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (With Video)

With a single push, the sled started its descent down an 850-foot icy track – with me at the helm.

The next 19 seconds were a mix of gripping tight to the luge sled’s handles, attempting to remember the detailed instructions I’d received about steering – lean left to turn right, or was it lean right to turn right? – and trying my best not to scream.

When I was flying down that sheet of ice, there was no time to second-guess the decision to haul that sled up many, many stairs and take the plunge. Once it was all over, the adrenaline rush and giant smile plastered across my face were enough to get me up to the top to do it all over again.

Luge 2
Photo credit: Julie Bitely

It’s icy and it feels so fast, especially in the dark, but it’s incredibly fun. Plus, as the luge instructors promised, I felt like I’d earned major bragging rights for making it down.

Muskegon is home to one of only four luge tracks in the United States. It’s shorter in overall length than private Olympic tracks in New York and Salt Lake City, but designed to be accessible for public use. The Lucy Hill Naturbahn Luge in Marquette is also open to the public.

The luge I enjoyed in Muskegon is part of the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (MWSC), a paradise for outdoor adventurers. If you’re not up to trying the luge, there’s plenty for you to do at the MWSC:

  • Two acres are devoted to outdoor ice skating, including a quarter-mile skating trail and several rinks.
  • Over 15 kilometers are set aside for cross-country skiing and the park boasts the longest lighted trail system in the Midwest. You can explore many of Muskegon State Park’s natural features including the woods and dunes along Lake Michigan.
  • Three snowshoe trail systems cater to all skill levels whether you’re a beginner or expert.
  • A small sledding hill is designed for young children and their families, although all ages are allowed.
Night skating at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex.
Night skating at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex. Photo credit: Julie Bitely

If you want to try the luge for yourself or enjoy any of the other amenities the MWSC has to offer, check out their “Party in Your Parka” celebration this Saturday, Jan. 24. The all-ages bash celebrates the complex’s 30th anniversary, with many activities planned for kids and adults. The event is free, but participating in some of the winter activities will require payment. Pricing information can be found here. Check out a detailed list of activities that will be taking place throughout the day.

Watch my luge turn here (sorry about the sideways view). Then, watch this commercial for the Muskegon Luge that more accurately represents how I was feeling inside!

Got any outdoor plans this weekend? Head on over to Muskegon’s very own winter wonderland or be inspired by reading about five ways to stay active in the winter or learn why you shouldn’t take a winter break from exercise.

This blog post is part of #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/healthyme

Photo credit: Jim Kravitz

 

 

 

 

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