The Sochi Winter Olympics are now less than two months away. Unfortunately for winter sports enthusiasts, a trip to the Russian Black Sea resort city is not a simple one to plan. The games will of course be broadcast on television, but for those that want to truly experience some of the Olympic events, a trip to the Olympic Center in Lake Placid is a great experience. Here you can get a feel for what it’s like to participate in some of the winter events, tour the various training areas and check out the Olympic Museum.
Whiteface often hosts tournaments and competitions but it is also open to skiers throughout the ski season. The mountain has 87 trails and 11 lifts and offers lessons to both skiers and snowboarders.
For those not interested in heading down the slopes, Whiteface offers Cloudsplitter Gondala Rides. Each car holds up to eight people and carries visitors from the main lodge to the top of Little Whiteface in just 15 minutes. The scenery takes in a large part of the Adirondacks region.
Another area near Whiteface is the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex. This is where athletes preparing for all Olympic jumping competitions practice for their events. An elevator takes visitors up to an observation deck. Here, they can see the area where the athletes prepare for their jumps and look out at the view that the skiers see as they go down the ramp.
One activity that visitors to the Ski Jumping Complex can safely participate in is snow tubing. Tubers are launched off of a 700 foot chute for rides down the hill. Hourly rates are available.
The Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid is where you’ll find the track used for the luge, bobsled and skeleton events. It also houses cross country ski trails and the shooting range used in the biathlon.
Here visitors can experience what it’s like to participate in some of the diverse winter sports featured at the Olympics. These include:
- Take a bobsled ride on the actual track used by Olympians. There’s no need to be too scared as you’ll be accompanied by a professional driver and brakeman.
- See what it’s like to fly down an ice track on a skeleton sled. These are the sleds where an athlete lays flat on their stomach and heads down the course face first.
- Find out what it takes to be a biathlete. First you’ll take a cross country skiing lesson. Then under the guidance of experienced instructors guests can head out to the shooting range and try to hit targets like the Olympians do.
- For those that like to do their skiing while standing up, Lake Placid offers snowshoe trails and hikes. Guided snowshoe tours are offered which take visitors to the top of Mt. Van Hoevenberg and a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.
Another part of the Lake Placid Complex is the Olympic Center. Out in front of the complex is the speed skating oval where Eric Heiden won five gold medals in 1980. When not being used by the athletes in training, the rink is open to the general public for skating throughout the winter.
Also housed at the Olympic Center is the Herb Brooks Arena. This is where the 1980 men’s hockey team defeated the Russians and went on to win the gold medal.
History is represented in Lake Placid at the Olympic Museum. The museum features displays and artifacts that tell the story of the two Lake Placid Olympics held in 1932 and 1980. Admission to the museum is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children and free for children under the age of six. The museum is open daily from 10AM-5PM.
Enjoy the upcoming Sochi Olympics and head to Lake Placid in Upstate New York to experience your own Olympic moments.