Posted on February 22, 2012 by Tia Lalani

See photos of students taking their fastest university exams in the Physical Activity Natural Luge Class race.

By Dr. David “Doc” Larson, Biology professor and Luge Coach

What totally unique Camrose thrill lasts 28.2 seconds, in which you negotiate five totally different corners while going 250 metres downhill on a sled at the only place in North America where you can do this for university credits?

And you do it three more times. You allow no more than a tenth-of-a-second difference in your times for all four runs: being able to finesse it that precisely is even more fun!

The answer is a Physical Activity Natural Luge Class race at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus.

The 2012 Augustana class luge race was special.

David "Doc" Larson and his PAC class.

First, this was the 20th luge class race since Larson proposed adding natural luge to the Augustana PAC courses following the 1990 Alberta Winter Games in Camrose. The 18 students in this year’s course brought the number of students who have luge credits on their transcripts to more than 350. Second, for the first time in 20 years, two students pulled off the three-run consistency test with no more than a 0.1 second difference! In one case three runs, and in the other all four, were taken with terrific consistency. Congratulations to Allyson Saunders and Peter Franchuk.

In natural luge, the sleds are very manoeuvrable and easily “driven” unlike most sliding devices on Canadian hills. The only requirement is to cross the finish line in contact with your sled. One race ended in a footrace due to a spin out on the flat part of the course.

Since the results of a luge race is the sum of times for multiple runs, consistency is the key criteria for a luger (yes, sliders get that word rubbed in frequently). Luge is also one of the few sports where results are measured in hundredths of a second at national and international races.

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