Lake Placid, N.Y. Events Offer Preview Of Winter Olympic Games
Sochi’s Olympic Winter Games are still five months away, but the run-up to the competitions in Russia starts next month for many American athletes. Not in Russia, but at Lake Placid, N.Y.
For Winter Games fans, many of whom may view the 6,000-mile flight from the East Coast to Sochi unrealistic for them, the Lake Placid Olympic Region brings the Games to life close to home and early at a fraction of the cost.
Many of the athletes viewers will watch in February, will train and compete in qualification events on Lake Placid's 1980 Winter Olympic venues between October and the February 7 Opening Ceremony.
The biggest event for skiing fans will come just three weeks prior to the Sochi Opening Ceremony Jan. 15-18, when World Cup freestyle skiing makes its annual stop in Lake Placid and nearby Whiteface Mountain. This time, it's more important than ever.
The mogul and aerial competitions, featuring the U.S. Ski Team’s 2010 Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney, will be held shortly before U.S. Olympic freestyle team members are named.
Of note, 12 Lake Placid trained athletes, including 2010 Olympic skiing medal winners Bill Demong and Andrew Weibrecht, competed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, further cementing the relationship between the community and the Winter Olympic movement.
The combination bobsled-luge-skeleton track will open, weather-permitting, Sept. 30. That earliest opening date in Lake Placid history, allows those athletes, including 2010 Olympic bobsled champion Steve Holcomb, a jump-start on training.
The U.S. Luge Team will begin their three-month Olympic qualification process October 12-13 in Lake Placid with the Norton National Championships.
The USA Women’s National Hockey Team, led by Olympic veteran Julie Chu, hosts the Four Nations Cup Nov. 4-9 on Lake Placid’s Miracle on Ice rink, the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena. They will be joined by arch-rival Canada, Finland, and Sweden. All four squads will evaluate talent as they start finalizing their Olympic rosters.
Holcomb and company return to the upstate N.Y. town Dec. 9-14 as the two-time Olympic village offers World Cup bobsled and skeleton action with many international athletes in the lineup that will face each other at the Olympic Games.
“Three particular events stand out,” Olympic Regional Development Authority President and CEO Ted Blazer told SnoCountry.com. The state-run organization operates the 1980 sites, including the ski and ride venue at Whiteface Mountain.
“Both World Cup bobsled and skeleton and World Cup freestyle events stand out because those events will serve as Olympic qualifiers for a number of nations. Plus, we’re also excited to have ECAC Hockey back in Lake Placid after a 10 year absence.”
The latter tournament features the pulse and pageantry of NCAA Division I college hockey. It is slated for March 20-22, also in the house that Coach Brooks and the U.S.A. team made famous.
It provides an entertaining off-hill activity, with games beginning after the final runs of the day are taken on Whiteface Mountain, and nearly a month after the Olympics conclude.
Destination visitors and weekend warriors alike have access to the same sports sites as those that they will cheer on come February. Click here for lodging information.
Photo: Hannah Kearney (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)