“It’s exciting to be back on ice again, getting back into the swing of things after a long summer,” said U.S. luge national team athlete Joe Mortensen of Huntington Station. “Today is just about getting the feel of sliding again and a couple of runs under your belt before the temperatures turn colder, the ice gets harder and the speeds begin to pick up.”
“We’ve dealt with a lot over the past few days from sun, wind and rain to get this track open,” remarked the track’s manager Tony Carlino. “The guys all pulled together and now that we have sliding down the track, we couldn’t be any happier. The guys did a great job in making this day happen.”
The weather conditions were less than ideal, but an improvement over that Monday, which featured temperatures in the upper-70s, making it impossible for holding ice on the 1,455-meter long course. Thursday’s conditions included cooler temperatures, in the lower-50s, and the early morning rain that gave way to cloudy skies just in time for USA Luge’s Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, a 2010 Olympian, to be the first athlete down the course at 9:31 a.m.
“It’s a good honor to be the first one down,” stated Mazdzer following his first run, which was clocked in 47.339 seconds from the women and doubles start ramp. “You really don’t know what to expect, your mind is centered on sliding and getting down. That’s the way it should be.”
Sliding continued throughout the day as members of the United States skeleton team hit the ice from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by the U.S. bobsled squad, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Photo by Gordy Sheer, USA Luge
Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake prepares to push off for the first run of the season on the combined bobsled/luge/skeleton track at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Thursday, Oct. 13.