A Barrie man has been building a giant luge track since 2007 with his wife and two sons but in recent years it’s been more than just a need for speed.

“We had a big yard and I couldn’t have a rink because it was on a slope so I thought a toboggan hill might work. It wasn’t very steep so I ended up having to ice it a lot and that’s when the whole luge thing came about,” says builder Mike Rae.

The track is fun, it’s fast and Mike’s kids and their friends in the neighbourhood can’t get enough of it.

“No matter how old you are it makes you feel like a kid again and you just come out with friends,” said one neighbour.

The main track is about 300 feet long and a second track adds an extra 200 feet.

Mike and his wife collect snow from around the neighbourhood, more than 300 pails full so far this winter. They use the snow to build walls for safety but once it’s built, Mike spends two hours a day maintaining the luge run.  

When the track is smooth and running fast, kids have been clocked going 26 km/h and it is recommended that they wear a helmet.

The neighbourhood tradition goes beyond high-speed fun. Mike hosts a luge party twice a year. Guests are asked to bring a donation to the Ride to Conquer Cancer or the Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe-York.

Mike has been hosting the luge parties for three years and has raised more than $3,200. And while that’s a matter of pride, it’s not the only reason Mike spends countless hours designing and building the track.

“The joy that I get out of people’s faces and the yells and the delight as they come down the hills, that’s totally my payment for all the work.”