Workers have begun the process of chilling the concrete and laying down the ice on the 20-curve, mile-long track at the Olympic Sports Complex. The U.S. luge team will open the season when they take to the ice first thing that Monday morning, 9 a.m.-noon, followed the U.S. skeleton squad, from 3-5 p.m. and the bobsled team from 6:30-9 p.m.
The sliding center has seen its share of capital improvements this summer. Work was completed on the Lamy Lodge, which currently houses the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation’s (USBSF) Hall of Fame, and the combined track’s spectator deck on curve 19 was also expanded for better spectator viewing.
Much of this work was done in anticipation of what’s expected to be another busy season for the 1,455-meter long course. It’s slated to play host to World Cup bobsled, skeleton and luge racing.
The international racing season opens November 5-10, when World Cup bobsled and skeleton racing returns. Last February, the United States bobsled and skeleton teams captured a record five medals, including four gold, when the one-mile long track played host to the 2012 FIBT world championships.
“The coming pre-Olympic season is really important both strategically and psychologically, so we are fortunate to be starting where we finished last season, Lake Placid,” added USBSF CEO Darrin Steele. “We are coming off of our most successful World Championships in our history on the Lake Placid track, so we have a great opportunity to continue that momentum as we set our sights on the 2013 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland and the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
February 3-9, World Cup luge racing returns to Lake Placid. This is the first international luge event to be held on the track, since the complex played host to the 2009 FIL world luge championships.
“I’m definitely excited about racing in Lake Placid,” remarked USA Luge’s Erin Hamlin, who won the 2009 women’s singles world championship crown. “Home track advantage is rare for me and the team to have, and it makes a huge difference, as history sort of shows. I would have to say that I’ll be a little anxious and nervous competing here, considering Worlds in 2009 was the last international race at this track.”
The public will have an opportunity to experience the track first hand by participating in the Bobsled Experience. Last season, more than 11,000 visitors, guided by a professional driver and brakeman, experienced a half-mile ride and felt the rumble of the sled’s blades passing over the track’s surface at more than 60-miles-per-hour. At the bottom they were rewarded with a bobsled lapel pin, 4×6 photo, t-shirt, a lake Placid Bobsled Experience sticker and membership to the U.S. bobsled and skeleton federation.
Other events at the track this season include the 33rd Empire State Winter Games, Feb. 7-10; the FIBT Sliding School, Feb. 25-March 1 and America’s Cup bobsled and skeleton racing, March 4-10.
For more information about all of the events being held at ORDA’s Olympic venues, log on to www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.
Photos: Above, 2012 Four Man Bobsled World Champions (Faye Hendrick Photo); Below, the USA-1 sled headed down the track (Pat Hendrick Photo).