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New Olympic Jumping Complex gondola now open

A new, $2.9 million SkyRide gondola system at the Olympic ski jumps in Lake Placid is seen Jan. 9. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — A new gondola is open for business in Lake Placid.

The opening of the SkyRide gondola system at the Olympic Jumping Complex, one piece of an ongoing multi-million dollar update of the facility, was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday.

The Olympic Jumping Complex is managed by the state Olympic Regional Development Authority. The first 35-meter jump there was built by the Lake Placid Club in 1921 for around $1,700. Six years later, the club enlarged that jump to 60 meters. The 90- and 120-meter ski jumps that exist today were built for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games on the site of the jumps used in the 1932 Olympic Winter Games. The jumps were renovated again and extended in 1994. The property is owned by the town of North Elba.

Cuomo said in a statement that the new gondola system continues an effort “to modernize the Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex for not only the world-class athletes that train and compete there, but for the thousands of guests that visit the complex year-round.”

The SkyRide carries six gondola cabins that each seat up to eight people. The ride spans a few hundred feet, connecting the complex’s base lodge to the 90- and 120-meter ski jump towers.

For adults and teenagers over the age of 13, it costs $15 to ride. Kids ages 7 to 12, and seniors 65 and over, can pay $9 to ride. The gondola is free for kids ages 7 and under. With the purchase of a $40 Olympic Sites Passport, the gondola ride is free. It’s free to watch the ski jumpers from the Intervale lodge.

Asked if the $15 ride cost is designed to entice visitors to purchase an Olympic Sites Passport, a spokesman for Cuomo’s office, Jason Conwall, said the $15 price is “a stand-alone price.”

“The passport is designed to give guests who plan on visiting multiple venues a discounted price,” he said.

The Switzerland-based Doppelmayr Garaventa Group manufactured and installed the gondola for $2.9 million. Construction first kicked off in April. A Salt Lake City-based subsidiary of that company, Doppelmayr USA, was also awarded a more than $2.4 million contract by ORDA to overhaul the Cloudsplitter gondola system at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington. That gondola — which hasn’t been updated since it was first installed in 1999 for $5 million, during then-Gov. George Pataki’s administration — is slated to open by this October.

Other recent updates to the Olympic Jumping Complex include the installation of frost rails on the 90- and 120-meter inruns, which helps maintain a consistent jumping surface for athletes; an LED lighting system that changes colors as jumpers prepare and then descend; and the installation of a new communication system.

A new zipline, an amenity that will be unique to the jumping complex among the properties that ORDA manages, is currently under construction. That’s expected to open this summer, according to the governor’s office, alongside other updates to make snowmaking on site more efficient. Regrading of the landing hills is expected to start this summer.

The Olympic Jumping Complex is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

(Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the frost rails are on the ski jump outruns; it should be inruns.)

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