In 1978, the first Empire State Summer Games were held at Syracuse University. In 1981, Lake Placid hosted the 1st Empire State Winter Games, in which amateur winter athletes from the state of New York can compete in winter sports such as ice hockey, figure skating, skiing, speed skating, and more. The Empire State Games celebrated their 30th Anniversary in Lake Placid this past weekend.
Each year in February athletes of any age compete at events held at the Olympic venues in the Lake Placid. The State Games in general give the athlete an experience similar to the Olympics- they can participate in Opening Ceremonies in the Olympic Center (during which the “Empire State Games” torch is lit), receive their own warm up suit and hat, and compete in Olympic Style competition. The sports include adapted skiing, alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsled, cross country skiing, figure skating, women’s ice hockey, luge, skeleton, skier cross, snowboard cross, ski orienteering, snowshoe racing, ski jumping, and short track speed skating. The Games are conducted by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation.
Athletes compete in the Empire State Games for the thrill of competition, and also for the chance to compete in the State Games of America. Held biennially, the State Games of America are held in various locations in the United States, which are selected by a bid process. In 2009 the State Game of America were held in Colorado Springs, Colorado; in 2011, they will take place in San Diego, California.