PERU — Like many area kids, Tristan Jeskanen loves to ride his sled.
But instead of taking leisurely slides down snowy hills, the 16-year-old prefers to navigate tracks of ice down mountain faces at 80 mph.
“It’s just a breathtaking thing,” Tristan said.
The luge athlete spends much of his time at Lake Placid’s Olympic Sports Complex, where he trains with fellow members of the U.S. Luge Association’s competitive teams.
Though Tristan is currently a member of the association’s Junior National “C” Team, he has been invited to join the U.S. Junior National “A” team in Europe this winter to compete on the Luge Junior World Cup circuit.
“It’s my first time I’m going to be able to compete against other countries,” he said.
ON A WHIM
Tristan’s short-term goal is to do well enough on the circuit’s first stops in Norway and Germany to qualify for the Junior World Championships in Park City, Utah, in January. He also hopes to be invited on the second leg of the tour to Canada, Germany and Austria.
Long-term, the Peru teen hopes to represent the United States in luge at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“It’s my stepping stone to hopefully making it (to the Olympics),” Tristan said of taking part in this winter’s Junior World Cup events.
Tristan was first introduced to the sport four years ago when, on a whim, he attended a slider search held by the U.S. Luge Association at Clinton Community College.
There, participants were invited to take a shot a sliding down a tarmac hill on luge sleds while scouts looked on hoping to spot new talent.
“First, I was a little nervous,” Tristan said, “and I was like, ‘what have I gotten myself into?’”