Even before the 1932 Olympic Winter Games, Lake Placid was a hub of outdoor sports and fun. In 1980, when our Adirondack village hosted the Olympic Winter Games for the second time, the athletic legacy was further cemented with the building and refurbishment of state-of-the-art venues, which still are in use today.
Olympians are elite athletes, but that doesn’t mean they get exclusive use of Lake Placid’s Olympic venues. Indeed, you, me, everyday people, we can hit the slopes at Whiteface Mountain, skate around the Oval, and even experience the thrill of the bobsled.
The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) manages these Olympic sites and wants to welcome you to them this winter. There are a lot of venues you can visit, and a lot of new updates for the winter 2020-2021 season, so be sure to check out the most update-to-date information and hours of operation on ORDA’s website. Here are some of the highlights:
Mount Van Hoevenberg
Mount Van Hoevenberg is really a center of activity. There’s so much to do here! New in 2020 is North America’s longest mountain coaster, The Cliffside Coaster. This scenic ride is expected to be open year-round and offers a unique perspective. Riders can control their speed, take in breathtaking scenery, and race family and friends alongside the 1980 bobsled track, all while learning Olympic history along the way.
Over on the Nordic side of Mount Van Hoevenberg, another new feature will enhance visitors’ experiences. ORDA anticipates opening the Mountain Pass Lodge this winter. This lodge will have retail, Nordic ski rentals, a bar, check-in for the Cliffside Coaster, and outdoor dining. Of course, flexibility will be key: not everything may open this winter inside the lodge. Your patience and understanding is appreciated. Everything will be done with the utmost respect for health and safety COVID protocols.
There have also been 5km of new trails added and 70 new snow guns. Kick and glide across new terrain this winter!
Olympic Jumping Complex
Soar to new heights at the Olympic Jumping Complex this winter! The recently opened SkyRide and Sky Flyer Zipline will remain open over the winter for those who want an aerial view of Lake Placid. The elevator that runs to the top of the ski jumps will also be open. Here, visitors will see a perfectly splendid panorama of the High Peaks, the same vista jumpers see as they begin to accelerate down the ramp.
Whiteface Mountain is known for big-time adventures and world-class skiing and riding, and this year, there have been a few improvements to the site, including facelifts to the gondola, Bear Den Mountain, and the snowmaking system. 60 brand new cabins were added to the Cloudsplitter Gondola and new drives and drive motors were added to get you from the base to the top of Little Whiteface in 15 minutes or less! That means more time for skiing.
The family-friendly center at Bear Den Mountain also got a new ride with a totally brand new lift. The Bunny Hutch Triple is gone, and is being replaced by a quad lift (name TBD!) that uses conveyor loading, which makes getting on and off a lot easier.
Perhaps the most noticeable improvement to Whiteface Mountain this winter will be the new Midstation Lodge. When complete, this lodge will offer skiers and riders food and beverage, multiple seating areas (indoor and out), restrooms, and, of course, plenty of good views. Construction of Midstation is being done in two parts, with the first slated to be ready for the 2020-2021 ski season and the second projected to be completed in October 2021.
Please do check ORDA’s website for current hours of operation and health policies. Times may vary depending on day of the week and holidays. As always, please follow all COVID health and safety protocols while in Lake Placid and visiting Olympics Sites. Masks are required. Online sales are available for quick, easy, and contactless sales. And while you’re in Lake Placid, be sure to sample some delicious local food to-go before embarking on your own Olympic journey.
*The reason you may see media of people not wearing masks on our website is because some footage is from prior years. More than ever, we all need to be vigilant about maintaining social distance of 6 feet or more and wearing masks when we cannot social distance.*