The USA Luge Slider Search, the official nationwide athlete recruitment tour for the sport, made the first of three scheduled visits to Plattsburgh Saturday.

The mission of the grass-roots program, established in 1985, is to identify, train and qualify young athletes for the USA Luge Junior Development Team. Athletes who may progress through the six-rung development ladder (Junior Development Team, Junior Team Candidate Select, Junior Team Candidate, Junior National Team Select, Junior National Team, Senior National Team Select) have hopes of one-day becoming members of the Senior National and Olympic Luge Teams.

Over the years, the USA Luge Slider Search has traveled over 220,000 miles and introduced the sport of luge to more than 19,000 eager young athletes. At each series stop, guided by U.S. Olympic and National Team coaches and athletes, participants are taught the basics of riding a luge sled, including positioning, steering and stopping. Once these skills are developed, athletes take several runs down a paved luge course on wheel-equipped luge sleds. Finally, athletes test their physical skills through a battery of fitness tests. Those who show promise in the summer program are invited to Lake Placid, Park City, Utah or Marquette, Mich. to try luge on ice at a USA Luge sanctioned training site. The top young athletes from this group are selected for the next year's development team.

Currently, most of the U.S. Junior National Team was recruited through the USA Luge Slider Search, so it's no wonder the USA Luge coaching staff feels future National and Olympic Teams will come from this recruiting program.

Participants need only register for one 3-hour clinic. Register by phone at 1-800-USA-LUGE, or register online through our secure store site. The Clinics are free.

Future clinics at Clinton Community College are set for Aug. 14 and Sept. 11.

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