Lake Placid news — Feb. 29, 1968

King Frank Gifford, Queen Patty Paulson and Archbishop Mayor Jean-Guy Chartier (does not mention where he served as mayor but it may have been Lachine, Quebec) are flanked by their court including crown bearers Sharon Patnode and Scott Wood; trophy bearers Cindy Patnode and Andy Preston; Trainbearers, Deborah Allen, Brenda Reid, Deanna White, Thomas Patnode, James Patterson and Bradley Colby. It was the celebration of the 14th annual North American Festival to a standing room only in the Olympic Arena. (Kopf photo)

Lake Placid landed on the big map after hosting the 1932 Olympic Winter Games, the first held in North America; then Lake Placid was vaulted into world-wide winter sports prominence as host to the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.

If you don’t believe me, then just try walking down the crowded streets of our unique sister village any weekend, without stepping on a tourist. [Oh, sorry, my friend Jim McKenna, CEO of the Regional Office for Sustainable Tourism, has taught me that the correct handle for those thousands of “tourist “cramming the streets is “visitor”.]

I was recently watching the 1938 film “Holiday” on TCM starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn and sure enough, Grant mentions walking down the streets in Lake Placid carrying his skis when he meets the love of his life; that woman turned out to be Hepburn’s sister in the movie. Later in the movie Grant mentions Lake Placid again.

A few page 1 headlines

from 1968

“Five Events Mushroom Lake Placid Weekend”“Placid Trainees Skate in Geneva for World’s” – Luge Advocates Swell National AAU Event” – “AAU Bobsledders Pilot to Victory” – “USEASA Skiers Compete in Placid“– All following the “Festival Packs Arena” story as outlined in the photo caption.

After the coronation the Skating Club of Lake Placid presented an ice show. “Notable among the youngest bladesters were the brother-sister team, aged 6 and 7, of Leanne and Jeff LaBrake.”

There was also this famous sports competition — the Pabst-Lions Toboggan Races highlighted with this headline, “Mayor Riley and Mayor Peacock Exchange Barbs.”

Figure skating

“The World’s Figure Skating champions will be decided this week in Geneva, Switzerland. The events, men’s and ladies singles, pairs and dance competition starting Tuesday and will conclude Saturday evening.

“Timothy Wood and Peggy Fleming, both 19-year-old students could give the United States a double victory in the singles event.

“The Soviet husband and wife team of Oleg and Ludmilla Propopov, Olympic Gold Medalist, are favored to win the pairs again. Ron and Cindy Kauffman of Seattle, Wash., will be the strongest U.S. pair entry.”

[It was a pleasure to meet Oleg and Ludmilla many times as they continued to skate summers in Lake Placid into their 80s.]


“Skiers totaling 50 in each of three competitions will converge on Lake Placid from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York this weekend. Lake Placid is adding 10 youngsters to the list according to J. Vernon Lamb, Chief of Competition.

“The United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association (USEASA) Junior Cross Country races will start at Whiteface Inn Saturday at 9 a.m. Girls will run five kilometers or three and a half miles with the boy’s course set at nine KM or six miles. Chief Timer is Ronald M. MacKenzie.

“Sunday at 1 p.m., a jump set on the 40 meter Intervals Hill with John Viscome, Jim Page, Norman Hess and Robert Jessmer officiating.

“The results of the competition will aid the Nordic Committee in choosing the team to represent the East at the National Junior Championships March 13-16 in Bozeman, Montana.”

Speed skating

“The Diamond Trophy Indoor Speed Skating Championships sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States and the Northern New York Skating Association are organized annually by the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club and will draw upwards of 200 entries.

“Eight events in seven classes for men and women will start each day at 1:30 p.m. with the finals Saturday evening in the Olympic Arena.

National luge

“The newest sports competition in the United States is Luge racing, an Olympic event cancelled at Grenoble [site of the 1968 Olympic Winter Games] because of warm weather. The girls who raced in France used the Alp d’Huez run. Because of the enthusiasm of Bunny Sheffield, AAU National chairman for Luge racing, the North Elba Park District has constructed a run close to the 70 meter Intervals Ski Jump.

“The small metal sleds travel down a mountainside in a track not unlike the bobsled run with walls of ice on the curves.

“There are many vantage points where spectators can watch the National and Diamond Trophy Luge Championships.

(Continued next week with bobsled and toboggan races)