Circuit Returns to Lake Placid for First Time since 2019
Mt Van Hoevenberg Hosting Its First World Cup Women’s Doubles Competition
The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (Olympic Authority) and USA Luge announce that the International Luge Federation (FIL) World Cup will return to Mt Van Hoevenberg for its season opener December 8-9, 2023.
The event in Lake Placid is the first of nine stops on the FIL tour that will include World Championships in Altenberg, Germany. Lake Placid, the home of USA Luge headquarters, last hosted a World Cup luge event in 2019.
“As proud neighbors of USA Luge, the Olympic Authority is thrilled to again host the world’s best luge athletes as they begin their season,” said Mike Pratt, ORDA President & CEO. “Our improved facilities at Mt Van Hoevenberg will provide an outstanding World Cup experience for athletes and spectators, and we look forward to welcoming everyone.”
The Olympic Authority recently completed an overhaul of the multi-sport venue at Mt Van Hoevenberg. The renovations included the addition of the Mountain Pass Lodge, a 55,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility with two retail spaces, food and beverage offerings, a climbing wall, and the only refrigerated indoor push start facility for bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The Lodge is centrally located adjacent to both the sliding track and the revamped cross-country skiing stadium and trail system, making for a unique spectator experience.
Mt Van Hoevenberg, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, has hosted 16 luge World Cups and two World Championships since 1983. The track held a World Cup each year between 2013 and 2019.
“It’s really great to be back on our home track in Lake Placid for a World Cup,” said USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy. “We’ve had a lot of success on this track over the years, something we expect to continue this year with our athletes taking advantage of their extensive knowledge of the Lake Placid track as they compete for podium finishes.”
The USA Luge team comes into the season with an experienced group riding the momentum of last year’s successful World Cup campaign that resulted in nine medals and 58 top 10 finishes. Lake Placid resident Emily Sweeney, a two-time Olympian going into her 12th season, led the women’s team in 2022-23 with World Cup medals in three different disciplines and a fifth-place overall finish. Teammate Summer Britcher is a three-time Olympian who has five career World Cup victories, the most in U.S. luge singles history.
Sophia Kirkby, of Ray Brook, teamed with Chevonne Forgan, of Massachusetts, to earn a women’s doubles bronze medal at the 2022 World Championships and a silver at the World Cup event in Latvia last season. Kirkby and Forgan finished fifth overall in the season standings. Women’s doubles is a new discipline on the FIL World Cup circuit, making its debut in Austria last December and slated for its first Olympic Games in 2026 in Italy.
The USA Luge men’s team is led by Olympians Tucker West, Jonny Gustafson and Chris Mazdzer. West, a three-time Olympian from Connecticut, placed 10th in the overall World Cup standings last year and has three World Cup victories on his resume. Mazdzer grew up in Saranac Lake and rose to fame in 2018 after capturing silver at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. Gustafson, a Massena resident, is in search of his first World Cup podium after coming close with a fourth-place finish in Park City, Utah last season.
Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander, the 2023 under-23 World Champions, will be joined by the duo of Dana Kellogg and Frank Ike representing Team USA in men’s doubles. Hollander is a Lake Placid resident who teamed up with Digregorio in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games.
Last year’s World Cup season was dominated by Germany as Julia Taubitz swept the women’s singles disciplines and Tobias Werndl and Tobias Arlt captured each of the men’s doubles titles. Felix Loch of Germany won the men’s singles overall title, while Dominik Fischnaller of Italy took the men’s singles overall title and was the men’s singles sprint champion. The Italian team of Andrea Votter and Marion Oberhofer earned the top overall position in women’s doubles.
Prior to the competition days on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, there will be more than a week of training in Lake Placid that brings in athletes and coaches from the competing nations and provides an economic boost to the hospitality industry during a typically slower time. USA Luge is also expected to host a start competition during the week at its newly renovated headquarters on Church Street in Lake Placid.
USA Luge was awarded a grant by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council in order to support the required broadcast of the World Cup competition in Lake Placid.