The 39th running of the Empire State Winter Games is being run from January 31 through February 3, 2019 with over 2,300 athletes of all ages expected to participate in more than 30 sports.
The opening ceremony on January 31 at 6 pm is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Herb Brooks Arena in the Lake Placid Olympic Center. A live performance by the high-flying aerial and acrobatic duo, Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion of the circus-inspired theatrical act Nimble Arts will entertain the audience and set the tone for the competition as a celebration of winter. The arena will begin to glow as the athletes parade in wearing LED bracelets timed to music, a new addition to this year’s event. One bracelet will turn a different color than the rest. The wearer of that bracelet will be given the honor of lighting the cauldron, signifying the opening of the games.
As the headquarters for the Games, Lake Placid will once again welcome the public to the Winter Games Village, which has relocated to Mid’s Park on Main Street, in the heart of Lake Placid’s downtown district. The family-friendly village is open Thursday from 4 to 6 pm, Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm Award ceremonies will be held there daily, along with free hot chocolate, s’mores, music, and games for the kids.
Sporting venues throughout the region are being used for ESWG events, including Paul Smith’s College, which will host the debut of Esports to the Games. The competitors will be playing Madden NFL on both PlayStation and XBox.
Cross-country skiing has been expanded and will now be open to ages 7-11, with a mass start 1 kilometer freestyle race the night of Friday, Feb. 1 at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake.
Organizers have announced this year’s torch relay (January 27 – 31) is expanded and will now include two routes — one beginning in Buffalo and one from New York City — that will meet in Malone and travel together to the opening ceremony at the city’s soccer field at Franklin Academy.
Titus Mountain Family Ski Center is home to the Winter Games Ski Festival. The day will begin with competitive downhill races follow by a Terrain Park Rangers rail jam exhibition, and Ride with a Ranger, a chance to learn how to hit rails from the professionals.