Part II: Lake Placid activities and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games
As promised in our last blog, with the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia less than five months away, we continue the Olympic theme that will play out here this winter.
OLYMPIC-STYLE ACTION IN LAKE PLACID THIS WINTER
Nov. 4-9: – USA Women’s Hockey Four Nations Cup. The United States women’s national hockey team returns to Lake Placid to host the Four Nations Cup, an annual tournament
that’s been held in various forms since 1996. Twenty-five of the nation’s top women’s hockey players will take to the famed Herb Brooks Arena 1980 rink to train, practice and play games as they prepare for the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Other nations participating in the Four Nations Cup include Canada, Finland and Sweden. The United States will open the tournament against Sweden on Nov. 5 before competing against Canada on Nov. 6, and Finland on Nov. 8. The medal games will be held on Nov. 9. All the Cup games will take place in the Olympic Center’s HerbBrooks Arena.
Dec. 9-14: FIBT World Cup Bobsled and Skeleton. The 2013-2014 World Cup season features a
stop in Lake Placid where once again, the world’s best bobsled teams and skeleton athletes will try to tame the combined bobsled/luge and skeleton track at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex. The field will be filled with athletes who will go on and compete in the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. The home team is led by driver and 2010 Olympic gold medalist Steve Holcomb.
Jan. 15-18: FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup. The world’s best freestyle skiers return to Lake Placid to compete in the FIS Freestyle World Cup. Action will take place at the Olympic Jumping Complex and Whiteface Mountain. The jumping site will host the men and women’s aerials competitions, where athletes twist and soar as high as 60 feet in the air before landing, while Whiteface, in Wilmington, N.Y., will be the site of the moguls’ competitions. This is the final World Cup event before several nations, including the United States, nominate their 2014 Olympic Teams.
BRING OUT YOUR INNER OLYMPIAN
We don’t save all this Olympic fun just for Olympians. You, too, can create your own Olympic memories this winter by going to our venues and getting into the action.
Start with a bobsled ride down the lower half-mile of our world renowned course that we mentioned earlier. A certified driver and brakeman will bring your crew down the run. At the end your time will be flashed on a board and you will get a souvenir photo with your entire “crew”.
Once the snow accumulates our visitors can learn the art of biathlon with coaching. You will be taught how to ski into position, relax your breathing and steady yourself to shoot a 22-calibre rifle at the target range.
Or just enjoy a leisurely day of cross country skiing and snow shoeing on 31 miles of idyllic, wooded Olympic trails that offer something for all ability levels.
Another of our unique winter activities occurs on the Olympic Skating Oval on Main Street. This is the site of Eric Heiden’s unprecedented five Olympic gold medals in 1980. The 400 meter oval is open for public skating nightly, with multiple sessions on weekends and holidays. It is THE place for evening socializing as you take laps around the rink; it’s THE place to work up at
appetite; it’s THE place to digest after dinner.
These are the reasons why the readers of SKI Magazine name the Lake Placid Olympic Region tops in off-hill activities each year.
And, of course, there is the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, 10 miles from Lake Placid in Wilmington, where the alpine skiing competitions were held in 1980. The downhill, slalom and giant slalom trails used 33 years ago, some widened over that time, are available to the public. In fact, several start buildings used in 1980 still exist, sometimes for racing, many times for photo ops.
What has been done over the years on the hill is as noteworthy as the off-hill menu. Over the years, Whiteface has added a high speed gondola, high speed quad chair, more gladed skiing and riding, the opening of Lookout Mountain, and outstanding snowmaking and grooming. It adds up to one of the top on-snow experiences in North America, where the enhancements and breadth of the resort virtually eliminate any semblance of a lift line.
Yes. Five months and counting to Sochi, but the Winter Olympic experience in Lake Placid is much closer, more realistic and just a call or click away.
To review Part I of this blog, please click here.
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Top photo: Skeleton, Courtesy ORDA/Dave Schmidt
Lower photo: Freestyle skiing, Courtesy US Ski Team/Sarah Brunson