With a little over one month until the 2014 Winter Olympic Games debut in Sochi, we’re revisiting the 1980 games, where some of America’s most triumphant moments in athletic history took place. 1980 marks the second time that the Games were hosted in Lake Placid; the first time being in 1932. The second round of hospitality showcased an expanded Lake Placid Olympic Center, which introduced the first completely artificial snowmaking system to the Games at Whiteface Mountain, in addition to the construction of an entire Olympic Village, new arenas and ski jumps.
To preserve the monumental history and heritage of the winter games site, the New York State Legislature created the Olympic Regional Development Authority to ensure public use and enjoyment of the Olympic venues after the 1980 games. Now, over 30 years later and counting, even non-Olympians can experience and enjoy the thrill of the Winter Games without the competition — from bob- to skeleton sledding, and skiing to skating.
Events this January include the North American Cup Bobsled & Skeleton Racing, and Winterfest at Adirondack Loj.
One of our very own NYSOM girls took a venture on the bobsled experience: “It was one of the wildest rides of my life,” she reported. “It’s a great way to have an experience that’s out side of your normal risk tolerance, because someone else is driving it! You get to experience the thrill of the speed, and be able to relate to what these Olympians are feeling when they do their thing.” A professional driver and brakeman will start your bobsled ride at the half-mile point of the same track once used by Olympic racers. “You’ll go faster than you’re allowed to drive a car through town. Then you’ll get to the bottom and want to do it again.” [Quote from Whiteface website]. Take home with you the souvenir of an exhilarating experience, as well as rewards “for your bravery,” including a membership in the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. Pretty darn close to becoming an actual Olympian, right?!
Embrace the crisp, cool air of the Adirondack woods at Mt. Van Hoevenberg with a lesson or expedition in cross-country skiing. For all levels of experience — check out this Olympic course as a beginner or advanced skier, and even consult the live camera to check the conditions before you go!
Not feeling particularly athletic this season? A visit (free with an Olympic Sites Passport) will reveal some favorite collections from the 1980 Olympics, including “never-released historical footage of the 1980 Miracle on Ice Hockey game.”
For more, check out: www.whiteface.com/activities