By Charlene S. Mixa
EXPERIENCE THE THRILL OF OLYMPIC VICTORY!
As stated in Part 1: The Amazing Adirondacks, the mountains encompasses 46 high peaks, six million acres of spectacular mountains, awesome vistas, and thousands of glacier formed lakes. The Adirondack Mountains beckon visitors to feast in this scenic wonder with activities are as varied as the mountaintops. Continue with us in Part II –The Amazing Adirondacks as we experience the “Thrill of Victory” at the Olympic Events in this five-part series.
Get an Olympic Passport – The passport includes admission to the 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum, the Olympic Center, the Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic Sports Complex, Whiteface Cloudsplitter Gondola, and Whiteface Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway. Also pick up a “This Week at the Olympic Venues” schedule to plan your visit around the numerous and varied activities offered. www.whiteface.com/plan/passport.php
Feel the high of a ski jumper’s perspective looking down from the top of the 120-meter jump tower at the Olympic Jumping Complex. In the summer, Wet ‘n Wild Wednesday has skiers from around the world doing free style aerial jumps, flips and twists into a 750,000-gallon pool. After the show we take the chairlift, along side the jumping hills, and then hop aboard the 26-story elevator to the top of the jumping tower. At 120-meters above the base the Sky Deck views are awesome. Yet more phenomenal is standing at the starting gate and looking straight down. Unbelievable! Imagine strapping on a pair of skis and aiming down this shoot to see how far you can go before landing. At the bottom, we watch skiers practice jumps on part of the 120-meter jump fitted with special plastic covering for summer training. Ranging in age from 13 to 16 years “young” athletes are impressive and brave! A fun afternoon of entertainment and going to the top of the 120-meter tower is a must.
Experience an adrenaline rush on a wheeled bobsled ride at the Olympic Center Sports Complex historic 1980 track. With our professional driver and brakeman, we hunker down for the ½ mile bobsled ride. Zipping along at 55mph, the g-forces push against us on awe-inspiring turns. The brakeman hits the brakes and with the smell of burning rubber the bobsled comes to halt. FUN! The pin, tee shirt and complimentary photo are great mementos of the ride. Next is a tour of the newer combined track which is used for the luge, skeleton, 4-man and 2-man bobsleds. It’s only one mile from the top of the combined track and an easy walk down. Walking inside the track, we get a “feel” of this extreme sport where an athlete’s body is compressed with multiple g-forces at lightning speeds. In the turns we spot markings where their helmets have scraped the top of the curve. Back at the base is a small museum and videos of bobsledding, luge, and skeleton. With the Olympic Passport there is a discount for the bobsled ride. Primary activities here are the bobsled ride and the tour of the combined track.
Relive the Miracle on Ice with a guided tour of the Olympic Center. As our guide Jim Rogers takes us through the Olympic Center, he shares personal experiences as the Chairman of Protocol Division for the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee. Jim’s intriguing stories include how Lake Placid won the Winter Game Site for 1980 and that Olympic Village was constructed in order to become a Federal Prison after the Olympics. Plus Lake Placid continues to be the training venue for skaters from all over the world since 1932. In the ice rinks, we watch skaters training. The entrance doors to the skating rink where the U.S., the underdog, beat Russia in ice hockey are actually a photo of this famous finale. Watching a video of the last two minutes of the game brings chills as we recall this phenomenal victory. Outside the Olympic Center, Jim explains Lake Placid is the only Olympic site that has a visual view of all the venues. The Ski Jumping Towers, the Bobsled track, Whiteface Mountain and Olympic Center are all visible from each location. Be sure to do the tour to better understand the Center and Olympic history. Walk through Olympic history at the 1932 & 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics Museum. Gaining insight into the winter Olympic sports, the museum has the Olympic Gold Medals, Olympic Flames, photos, attire and videos of Olympic performances. For over 80 years Lake Placid has influenced and impacted the Winter Olympic Sports and the museum walks us through this exciting history. Special exhibits include Sonja Hennie winning gold in 1932 and the Eric Heiden’s five gold medals in 1980. The video of the “Miracle on Ice” plays in an exhibit dedicated to the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. The museum is in the Olympic Center so you can visit it before or after the Olympic Center tour. Lake Placid and the Adirondacks continue to amaze us with their beauty and variety of activities. The Olympic venues are fabulous truly bringing us to fee the “Thrill of Victory!” Even in the summer months athletes are practicing and training in preparation of upcoming Olympics or World competitions. Excitement is definitely in the air. Now check out our next treks in the Adirondacks with more activities. If you go: Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, 46 Parkside Drive, Lake Placid, NY 12946; 800.447.5224; www.lakeplacid.com