Ever watched an Olympian hurtling feet first down a mountainside on a sled at 90 mph and wanted to try it yourself? Well, for a taste of that kind of luge, you’ll have to head to Park City or Lake Placid.
But at the Loup Loup Ski Bowl in Washington’s Okanogan County, about six and a half hours from Portland, winter wanderers can take a more traditional turn with the resort’s “natural luge,” a three-mile groomed track that opened in 2017.
Instead of built-up banked tracks designed for speed, natural luge tracks are adapted from the existing slopes for an experience similar to sledding. This doesn’t mean it eliminates the thrills. Riders can pick up decent speed, especially if they lean back like the Olympic racers. There’s a steering rein, and legs and arms can come in handy to control the sled, too.
Natural luge is common in Europe, but Loup Loup’s track is the only one in the Northwest. This winter the luge is scheduled to open December 27. Advance reservations are required ($144 for up to four people, who must be all from the same household or bubble). Solo riders must be at least 10, and kids 6 to 9 can ride with an adult. You’ll need to keep your face mask on for the closely packed snowcat ride up to the start of the luge track.
Loup Loup Ski Bowl, 97 FS 4200 100 Rd, Okanogan, Washington