By Diane Chase
Every time we have new visitors to town one thing they usually ask for is an Olympic tour. Sometimes we need to streamline our activities. We feel that the first stop for families of all ages is the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex in Lake Placid.
This year the Lake Placid's Olympic Ski Jump chair lift is scheduled to open December 20th, just in time for Christmas. Currently the Observation Deck and Elevator are open and the price is right. This facility is also handicapped accessible. My father-in-law is confined to a wheelchair but will be able to ride a chairlift once more. He may not be able to go down the mountain but he can ride up, passing the football field sized landing area of World Championship ski jumpers.
My son points out the grand stands below and tells me he can mimic a crowd cheering. He puts his lips to my ear and sure enough I look below and hear the roar fill up the stands. For the moment the view is socked in but my kids couldn't care less. They are racing to the winner's podium underneath the K-120M jump. This allows me some time to read about the construction and jumping records posted on the informative signs that line the walkway. If anyone in the family has a remote chance of standing on an Olympic podium, it will be my daughter.
There are opportunities living near an Olympic village. For years we have encouraged my son to try to NYSEF ski jumping clinics. He has politely declined. He loves to ski but his feet will remain firmly on the ground. I respect that. My daughter is more apt to be a ski jumper than my son.She climbs, hangs and jumps off obstacles. She is our sure-footed mountain girl so this year it's her year to try 'Learn To Fly" Wednesdays at the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumps.
The view is starting to clear. My children race to the elevator door. The glass-sided elevator looks over the High Peaks. We feel like we've entered Willy Wonka's ride, ready to crash through the ceiling and over the Adirondack High Peaks. Instead the elevator operator informs us that we have reached the top, top of the world that is.
My son is trying every door in the observation room for a way out to the deck. I use the panoramic pictures under each window to help identify the mountains and landmarks in the 360° view. He finally finds a way out. For a boy not interested in trying the sport, he is certainly interested in getting close to the inner workings of the Olympic Jumping Complex.
His boots clomp up the metal stairs. We arrive at the start platform. My daughter peers over the edge and wishes she brought a sled. Olympian? We'll see. I look over the edge and see the glass-sided elevator as the only viable option down.
Currently just the Observation Deck and Elevator are open Thursday – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., priced at $5.00/adult; $3.00/junior (7-12)/senior; six and under/free. Please check for price changes. Parking is plentiful.There are two parking areas. Tickets are available at the booth at the entrance on Route 73 across from the Lake Placid Horse Show Grounds. To access the elevator only, exit the parking lot and turn left onto Route 73 and bear left onto Old Military Road. Take an immediate left onto John Brown Farm Road. The upper level is immediately on your left. Call 518-523-2202 for more information.
Diane Chase's Adirondack Family Time Tip™: Your ticket is only good on day of purchase. It is worth keeping track of the weather and making sure your view will be clear. Check out to see if getting the Olympic Passport will save money.
all photos and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time™. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time™ guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.