Set in the grandeur of the Adirondacks, one of the last great wilderness areas of the East, the Lake Placid region of Essex County offers visiting nature lovers an experience filled with arts, history, education and sports.
Although the village recently celebrated its centennial and visitors began traveling here around the 1880s, it was the Olympic Winter Games in 1932 that catapulted this small picturesque village onto the international stage. Years later in 1980, Lake Placid once again hosted the Games. This time, all eyes were on Lake Placid when speed skater Eric Heiden won five gold medals, and the U.S Men's Hockey Team beat the Soviet squad in what was called the "Miracle On Ice."
Since the Olympic Games, Lake Placid has remained a vital part of winter sports history. Countless World Cups in luge, bobsled and skiing have taken place at the former Olympic venues. Events like "Stars on Ice," which will open in Lake Placid on Dec. 30, make Lake Placid the place to be in the winter months.
The 33rd annual Empire State Winter Games will be held Feb.7-10, 2013.
(Enterprise file photo — Lou Reuter)
Nearby Whiteface Mountain in the town of Wilmington, home of the Olympic downhill events, is open daily from late November to mid-April. With dozens of trails and the steepest vertical drop in the East, Whiteface is a premier ski destination.
The other Olympic venues are open year-round as well. Take a bobsled ride at the Olympic Sports Complex and race down the same track used during the Olympics at speeds up to 50 miles an hour. Watch world-class athletes as they train at the Olympic Jumping Complex and Freestyle Park.
Visit the 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum located in the Olympic Center. Ice rinks, located in the Olympic Center, and the Sheffield Speed Skating Oval are open daily for public skating.
Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobile trails are endless. Take a dog sled ride on Mirror Lake or ride down Mirror Lake's toboggan chute. Go ice fishing on one of the many lakes and ponds in Essex County (contact the town of North Elba office or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for details).
Visitors will be delighted with shop-lined Main Street. Peruse the shops filled with antiques, homemade chocolates, locally made clothing and other Adirondack gifts.
The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) can help you plan your stay here. The doors are open to visitors who are looking for assistance in planning their stay.
For further information on lodging, events or activities, call ROOST at 518-523-2445, stop by the Lake Placid Visitor Center at 49 Parkside Drive, or go online to www.lakeplacid.com.