Lake Placid’s Renaissance

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LAKE PLACID’S RENAISSANCE
By Paula Schuck

 

From the time our kids turned double digits, we began looking at travel in a different way, with eyes more keenly attuned to the future. Family travel should be fun, of course, but more than that it should also be educational and inspirational so while there were still trips to all-inclusive resorts and cruises when we were planning a family trip, we looked at it through the lens of how travel would change us and inspire us to grow?

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writer Paula Schuck talks about her family’s adventures in Lake Placid, New York. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

 

 


The year my oldest daughter turned ten we planned a trip to Kennedy Space Centre and had lunch with an astronaut with the goal of inspiring our kids to reach for the stars figuratively in life and in everything they work towards. The year she turned 13 we learned to ski as a family because you are never too old to learn a new skill.

This past ski season our love of outdoor sports led us to Lake Placid, located high up in the Adirondack Mountains, and home of two Winter Olympics. What better place to embrace winter and challenge yourself to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, bobsled, or simply enjoy the outdoors?

There really are no bad places to stay in Lake Placid. The Lake Placid Village itself is quaint and extremely walkable. The newly renovated, Lake Placid Bay Hotel overlooking the majestic Whiteface Mountain has some of the most spectacular views you can find here. From the hotel, it’s just a short drive to Main Street, where the restaurants and museums along Mirror Lake beckon tourists. In the winter, on Mirror Lake, you can try out dog sledding before shopping for souvenirs.

Maybe, just like me, you remember relatives travelling to Lake Placid shortly after the 1980 Winter Olympics or watching the Olympics on TV as a kid, cheering athletes on, celebrating Miracle on Ice, one of the biggest moments in US sports history. But did you know that Lake Placid also hosted the third-ever Winter Olympics in 1932? Olympic history runs deep in Lake Placid, steeped into every corner, street sign, and landmark.

It can be hard to live in the long shadow of the Olympics. Once the world’s media depart, the athletes leave Olympic Village, and the celebrations end; destinations can struggle to find their path. Our recent visit to Lake Placid proved that the Olympic Spirit is still very much alive and well and the area thriving.

With a well-known Olympic history, Lake Placid is now embracing a future vision lifting the Olympic Region once again to an enviable position on the world stage. Led by President and CEO Mike Pratt, New York State’s Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) is ushering in a new era of excellence in winter sport, recreation, and tourism.

  • Welcome to Lake Placid, New York
    Welcome to Lake Placid, New York

Earlier this year, Lake Placid hosted the biggest sporting event since the 1980 Olympics – the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Winter World University Games in January. ORDA has finished numerous construction projects that are not only serving the organization’s mandate and mission but also simultaneously repositioning the region’s appeal and stature in the wide world of winter sports.

Over the last six years, New York State has made significant investments in ORDA’s state-of-the-art training and competition facilities, including over $500 million across all ORDA venues and operations in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. As a result of these investments, ORDA facilities are open year-round for events, athlete training, and recreation.

After Lake Placid hosted the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games in January, they followed it up with World Cup Ski Jumping in February and the World Synchronized Skating Championships from March 30-April 1.

Bobsled Skeleton World Championships will happen in February 2025, and additional local, regional, national, and international events, setting a new standard for international sporting events by making the environment a top priority.

With each project, the organization has implemented important venue improvements aimed at sustainability and mitigating climate change impacts on winter activities. These include reduced energy and water use through high-efficiency snowmaking equipment, hybrid snow groomers and electric Zambonis, LED technology, new cooling systems and industrial refrigeration improvements, salt use reduction, solar arrays, and more.

A seven-to-eight-hour drive from southern Ontario, Lake Placid is perfect for skiers. Whiteface Mountain is paradise with the greatest vertical drop on the east coast and challenging lovely long runs. Take the Cloudsplitter gondola to the summit and chase your favourite ski buddy down until your legs quit.

After a long gorgeous blue-sky day of skiing Whiteface Mountain, it’s time to visit the Olympic Centre starting at the newly renovated Olympic Museum. With the largest exhibit of Olympic torches in the world and a story that begins in 1920 with the first Lake Placid Olympics, the Olympic Museum is inspiring and an impressive marriage of history and technology. Newly renovated and reimagined, the Olympic Museum reopened in December 2022.

Once you’ve had your fill of the Museum, check out the Olympic arena and the 1980 Olympic ice rink. Pop by the James C. Sheffield Speedskating Oval where the 1932 Opening Ceremonies were held and keep your eyes peeled for athletes still training there.

Decades after the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, through investment by the State of New York, the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) has modernized its venue infrastructure with a priority placed on eco-friendly renovations and practices. The effort has been massive. The investment game-changing.


Paula Schuck is a travel and lifestyle writer in London, Ontario, Canada, and she is always eagerly awaiting ski season. Paula works as social media lead at a marketing agency near Toronto. A member of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association since 2016, she is on the social media marketing committee. Follow her at https://www.thriftymommastips.com/

 

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About the Author:

Paula Schuck is a travel and lifestyle writer in London, Ontario, Canada, and she is always eagerly awaiting ski season.

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