If you’re staying in the city this summer, make the most of all that it has to offer. One of those activities that you maybe always thought was for tourists, but is actually a lot of fun for locals too, is the Skyline Luge at WinSport. It reopens for the summer season on Saturday May 13, 2017. It will stay open until Thanksgiving weekend.
We’ve tried it out. Here’s what you can expect.
What the experience is like
First things first: leave the fear and doubt at home and forget everything you know about the luge based on what you’ve seen during the Winter Olympic Games. This is nothing like that.
For starters, there’s no ice. The Skyline Luge has its own track, running next to the luge track built for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. This is a wide cement track that could fit two or three carts across. And, this is a family-friendly, summertime activity, not a winter sport for high-performing athletes.
The company that brought Calgary this luge in 2014 has five other tracks in the world. There’s one in Mont Tremblant, two in New Zealand (Queenstown and Rotorua) and one in Singapore. A sixth opened in Tongyeong, South Korea earlier this year. But Calgary’s is the longest track of them all – the cement track is just over one mile in length and drops 100 metres.
After buying your ticket, you’ll find a Skyline Luge helmet that fits you. You can’t miss this – you’ll see all the helmets at the base of the chairlift. Then you’ll take the leisurely, approximately five-minute chairlift ride to the top of the COP hill. Be sure to admire the view and think about how lucky you are that you don’t need to walk to the top of this hill.
Once at the top, place bets with other people you’re luging with on how long you think it will take you to get to the bottom. Know that the speed is up to you. The carts are gravity-controlled but pulling the handlebars towards you pushes down on the brakes. You’ll get a lesson from the staff at the top of the hill before you zoom down.
There are more than 50 twists and turns and a few obstacles along the track to keep things interesting. Or challenging, depending on how you look at it.
You’ll want to ride more than once – time yourself and see if you can muster the courage to go a little faster the second time. And a little faster again the third time.
If you want to leave with a souvenir, you can buy a photograph of you mid-luge at the base for $10. The camera along the track will automatically take your picture. There’s a sign warning you it’s there, so you can smile or fix your sunglasses that you’ve knocked askew or pretend to look like you’re not actually scared.
One ride: $15.50
Three rides: $23
Five rides: $32
There are also family package options. And if you have little kids (meaning under 110cm little), they can ride the luge on your lap for an additional $3.
Opening weekend is May 13 and 14, 2017. The luge is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. all weekend.
The luge’s opening hours vary month to month, so check skylingeluge.com ahead of time.
What to bring
This isn’t an activity you’d want to do with loose, flappy shoes like flip-flops. You’ll take the chairlift up to the start of the luge, so you don’t want to risk losing your footwear on the ride up.
If you’re challenging someone to a race on the luge track, make sure your competitor can’t use the “sun was shining directly into my eyes and I couldn’t reach my full luge potential” excuse when you beat them to the bottom.
You’re going to want to show your friends what you did this weekend and what kind of speeds you got up to. (If you’re not exactly a speed demon but still want to brag, then you can always doctor your footage.) Some of the Skyline Luge helmets even have a clip on them for you to attach your device.
Things to keep in mind
There’s still a lot of construction around WinSport – the Trans Canada Highway/Bowfort Road N.W. Interchange Project is still in the works but expected to be done this summer. If you’re planning on meeting a group here at a specific time, be sure to consider the extra time it might take you to get into the park.
Skyline Luge Calgary, 88 Canada Olympic Rd. S.W., 403-776-0617, skylineluge.com