Internationally, the International Luge Federation (FIL) World Cup tour is a huge draw with 5,000 to 10,000 spectators turning out to races, a huge television audience - over 300 million views in Germany alone over the course of a season - and a lot of top sponsors like Viessmann and Adidas. In North America and Canada, however, it's still a sport in development.
To help out this weekend as the Whistler Sliding Centre hosts the FIL Luge World Championships, the Government of B.C. has stepped in to support the event with $100,000.
Naomi Yamamoto, the minister of state for small business, announced the funding after the athlete parade and during the opening celebration on Jan. 30, on behalf of sports minister Bill Bennett.
"We are proud to support this important championship event and to welcome the world to Whistler," said Yamamoto. "It is truly an honour to host the world's best lugers. Events like this are community celebrations that attract visitors and generate positive economic and social impacts - a winning combination for everyone."
The races will feature 150 athletes from 23 nations, with the men's doubles and men's individual races on Friday and the women's individual and team relay races on Saturday. Tickets are $10. For more, visit www.whistler.com.