Olympic USA Luge Team Calls on HVCC to Help Manufacture Luge Parts


TROY — As the nation’s Olympic luge team prepares for the upcoming Winter Games, the riders have called on engineers from Hudson Valley Community College to help them gain an edge over their competitors.

Gordy Sheer, director of marketing and sponsors for USA Luge, said teams from Germany, Austria and Latvia are opponents and “everyone is shooting” these days, which means states States need a sled design that will put it forward.

The goal is to create a sled with less steel-ice friction that provides athletes with an optimal blend of speed and maneuverability. Both parties are still in the early stages of building the partnership, although they have a vague idea of ​​how to proceed.

Older students and some college professors will make metal parts for the sled, including its runners – sharp blades on the underside that come into contact with the ice. Some parts will require custom or manual fabrication.

“We needed knowledge, skills, brains, someone who was reasonably close to us and also has world-class equipment to do the kind of work we need to do,” Sheer told about the decision to seek help from HVCC.

Jonathan Ashdown, dean of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) at the college, said the school is in talks with American Luge to have the organization pay for the raw materials needed to make the parts in exchange for students getting a real-world project to work on for their Capstone courses the coming year and several years beyond.

Ashdown anticipated that around 40 students would go through the program to design different aspects of the sled, which would require between $50,000 and $75,000 per year in materials to manufacture.

Sheer noted that American Luge will also try to provide opportunities for students to be part of their mission in Lake Placid. He said one of the organisation’s main sponsors, Saint-Gobain in Watervliet, is also helping to design the paint for the sled.

The team has about four years to build a sled of stars with HVCC and other partners that it hopes will be used at the next Winter Olympics.

“We are definitely excited. We hope to provide them with as much value as they are going to provide to us,” Sheer said.

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