Posts Tagged ‘winter sports’

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lake Placid Figure Skating: A History

Figure skating has always had an important home in Lake Placid. Early on, the Sno Birds popularized this summer retreat, and Melville and Godfrey Dewey help win the campaign for the 1932 Winter Olympics. The Skating Club of Lake Placid was formed, and after 1932, famous skaters trained there with legendary coach Gus Lussi.

When Lake Placid again hosted the Olympics in 1980, skating dominated, with state-of-the-art facilities that have continued to be used by stars like Dorothy Hamill and Sarah Hughes, and helped give rise to Scott Hamilton’s Stars on Ice. For more than one hundred years, the Lake Placid community has worked together to support figure skating and skaters in this quiet Adirondack village. Local winter sports writer Christie Sausa tells this history in Lake Placid Figure Skating: A History (History Press, 2012). » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dewey Mountain Gets New Signs, Trail Map

Volunteers helped Dewey Mountain Recreation Center begin the installation of new signs and introduce a new trail map Sunday. The signage and a loop-based trail system are designed to improve flow and clarity on 13 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. Dewey Mountain, a multi-season recreation facility owned by the Town of Harrietstown, also features 10 kilometers of in-town snowshoe, mountain-bike and walking trails.

The bold new signs were funded by a mini grant from North Country Healthy Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Places program, funded by the New York State Department of Health. One of the program’s goals is to increase opportunities for North Country residents to be physically active. The signs are designed to make trails more welcoming by clarifying routes and level of difficulty. The intent is to make it easier for visitors and newcomers to mountain sports to navigate trails safely. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sliding Track Season Set

The sliding track at Mt. van Hoevenberg, in Lake Placid, N.Y., is getting set to open, Monday, Oct. 15, (weather permitting) for national team training.

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.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oktoberfest Planned at “New” Titus Mountain

Base lodge expansion at Titus MountainSkiers will have more terrain choices this winter at Titus Mountain, in Malone. 15 new trails, eleven of which are glades, have been added, bringing the ski area’s trail count to 42. The new terrain encompasses all ability levels, from beginner to expert. A second terrain park has also been added, and a major expansion of the ski area’s base lodge is underway. “We’ve completely gutted and renovated the lodge,” said Bruce Monette, Principal at Titus. “People will not recognize the place.”

The expansion comes less than a year after Monette and his two brothers, Brian and Christopher, purchased the ski area from long-time owner Paul Augustine. “With all the changes, upgrades and excitement, we’ve modernized the logo and website and are calling ourselves the “New” Titus Mountain.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 24, 2012

2012-2013 Winter Sports Events Schedule Announced

The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) has issued its winter 2012-13 events. Dates and schedules are subject to change, but here is the basic run-down.

Nov. 5-10 – FIBT World Cup Bobsled and Skeleton. The 2012-’13 World Cup season opens for bobsled and skeleton where last season ended, on the combined bobsled/luge and skeleton track at the Mt. van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex. Last February, the United States bobsled and skeleton team captured a record five medals, including four gold, when the one-mile long track played host to the 2012 FIBT world championships. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dewey Mtn Launches New Lodge Plan With Summer Ski Jam

Two Saranac Lake institutions, Doty’s barbecue and the Dewey Mountain Ski Center, unite 3–8 p.m. Sunday, July 29 for a Summer Ski Jam & BBQ at Mount Pisgah. The idea of a Summer Ski Jam originated with some of the musicians who play Dewey Mountain Recreation Center’s little log cabin on winter Friday nights. They decided to get together in warm weather and put on an outdoor concert to benefit the campaign to build a new base lodge for Dewey Mountain. Performers include the Barn Cats, Big Slyde, Blind Owl Band, Celia Evans, Steve Langdon, and Roadside Mystic.

The Summer Ski Jam & BBQ also features Doty’s signature marinated beef and chicken with all the sides. Together with his parents and brothers, Derek Doty ran the popular Doty’s Country Road Beef butcher shop for 28 years, and he continues to barbecue on special occasions. The community-supper atmosphere will welcome families as well as summer guests.  » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Jeff Farbaniec: 2011-12 Ski Season Worst in 20 Years

Skiing the Essex trail at Whiteface, December 14, 2011It’s official.  The 2011-12 ski season was the worst in 20 years.  That’s according to the National Ski Areas Association’s (NSAA) preliminary end-of-season survey released last week.  Nationwide, skier visits were down by more than 15%, to their lowest levels since the 1991-92 ski season.  The season was characterized by low snowfall and mild winter weather across nearly the entire U.S.

All this comes as no surprise to skiers or anyone who enjoys winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks.  Natural snowfall was sparse, and a lack of cold temperatures hampered snowmaking operations all season long.  By the end of March, every ski area in New York State had closed for the season, casualties of the month’s record-setting warmth. Jon Lundin, Public Relations Coordinator for the Olympic Region Development Authority (ORDA), which operates the Gore and Whiteface Mountain ski centers, estimates a 14% decrease in visitation across all of ORDA’s venues for the 2011-12 season. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Slush Pile: Whiteface Skiing and Climate Change

What follows is a guest essay by Kirsten L. Goranowski, a 2012 graduate of Paul Smith’s College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. This is part of our series of essays by young people from Paul Smith’s College.

It was a rainy wait for the Face Lift chairlift at the base of Whiteface Mountain on March 9th. I overheard a woman complain to her husband about the unpleasant weather. There was mention of an alternative plan for the day. I myself contemplated an alternative, yet I had bought a season pass and still had to get my money’s worth. Winter of 2010-2011 was the first time I picked up the sport of snowboarding, and I’m now questioning whether any of it was a worthwhile investment. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 30, 2012

‘Old Ski Train to North Creek’ Begins Thurman Speaker Series

Local historian Milda Burns, popular for costumed presentations stuffed with intriguing and often amusing details, will launch the John Thurman Historical Society’s 2012 speaker series with her program “Old Ski Train to North Creek.”

Burns, who grew up in North River the daughter of Finch Pruyn’s River Superintendent Jack Donohue, remembers well the D & H trains of the 1930s which brought weekend skiers to North Creek Depot. From there local families picked them up and shuttled them to boarding houses and homes with spare rooms, and ferried them to the new Ski Bowl for the novel “ride up, slide down” experience.

By one estimate, sometimes there were almost as many skiers as there were residents in the whole town. This past winter Burns was on hand to greet passengers riding the inaugural run of the new ski train operated by Saratoga and North Creek Railway.

The public is invited to attend this free program 7 pm, Tuesday, April 3rd at the Thurman Town Hall; refreshments will be served.

For more information, call Joan Harris, 623-2007. Thurman Town Hall is located at 311 Athol Road, Athol, just six miles from the Warrensburg Health Center via NYS route 418 and Athol Road.

Photo: A ski train at the D & H’s North Creek Depot in 1935. Courtesy The Adirondack Branch.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Skiing McCauley Mountain

Even with the lack of winter snow we have plenty to do to keep our family active outside. We’ve managed to use our Microspikes and crampons so much on every winter hike that my children automatically grab a pair to explore the icy parts of our yard.

With the recent dumping of snow it is with great pleasure to exercise our downhill muscles and toss our Microspikes to the bottom of our bag. We’ve gone downhill skiing this winter but our outings were not met with the same enthusiasm that 16” of fresh snow can bring.

For a family mountain, Old Forge’s McCauley Mountain can’t be beat. With an elevation of 2,330’ McCauley has something to offer everyone in our family.

The terrain park is the first thing we see as we pull into the parking area but we quickly pass it to the lifts and make the most of the day. There is one double chairlift and one T-Bar that access all 20 trails and a Rope Tow for the Mighty Mite. The second T-Bar is at the terrain park area. My kids are well past the Mighty Mite but it is still sweet to see that special place right in the middle of the mountain for those beginner skiers.

There is also the spectacular view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. The Fulton Chain of Lakes is a portion of a river system that extends to Lake Ontario and was first dammed in the late 1700s. According to the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association the present dam at Old Forge holds back 6.8 billion gallons of water. Lower Fulton Chain starts at Old Forge Pond and travels to First Lake, Second, Third, Fourth Lakes to the Towns of Eagle Bay and Inlet and ending sequentially with Eighth Lake.

If you still have time or energy after riding the lift, there are 20 km of XC ski trails that can be accessed right at the base of the main lodge. For the month of March you can access the trails for free.

With March coming in “like a lion” we are looking forward to making the most out of the rest of this Adirondack ski season. Don’t forget that every Friday is “Crazy” at McCauley with $12 lift tickets.

McCauley Mountain is located in the center of Old Forge. From Route 28 (Main Street) follow the signs to McCauley Mountain. The road is very well marked. McCauley Mountain is located at 30 McCauley Road in Old Forge.

photo of McCauley Mountain Ski Area used with permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities in Lake Placid and the High Peaks. Her second Adirondack Family Time Four-Season guide for the Champlain Valley from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga will be in stores in summer 2012.


Monday, February 27, 2012

U.S. Wins Five World Championship Medals, Four Gold

Athletes from more than 20 nations vied for the crown at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and the U.S. team has gained momentum towards the 2014 Winter Olympic Games by medaling on their home track in a big way. The U.S. claimed five medals, including four gold, to mark the most successful World Championships for the program.

Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) made history with his USA-1 push crew of Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) as the first U.S. pilot ever to sweep the two and four-man bobsled World Championship races held in Lake Placid. The U.S. also took gold in the team event during which women’s and men’s skeleton and women’s and men’s two-man bobsled athletes take one run each for a four-run combined time. Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) and Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) claimed the 2012 World Championship bronze medal for women’s bobsled program on Friday. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sliding Sports Museum Plans, Hall of Fame Inductees

With the bobsled and skeleton 2012 World Championships wrapping-up in Lake Placid, sliding sports enthusiasts will be gathering to celebrate the history of the sport at two events on Saturday. The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) will induct its second class of Hall of Fame members at 2 pm this Saturday, Feb. 25 following the first two heats of the World Championship four-man bobsled race at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Lamy Lodge. Then, at the same location at 2:30 pm, the Lake Placid Olympic Museum and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) will unveil plans for a planned International Sliding Sports Museum (ISSM) and a related Science and Technology Park to be located at Mt Van Hoevenberg. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Phil Brown: Bad Winter Skiing Options

Yes, it’s been a bad winter for skiers, but it’s not all bad. People are skiing, though their options are limited by the shortage of snow.

The best skiing seems to be at the two extremes: on high slopes or on mellow terrain. For a sample of what the elite skiers are doing, check out the videos on Drew Haas’s website Adirondack Backcountry Skiing.

If you’re not into skiing slides or other gnarly terrain, your best bets will be former truck trails, old woods roads, frozen ponds, and other smooth, flat terrain. You can find an account of one such trip in the March/April issue of the Adirondack Explorer: a round-trip to Raquette Falls. Click here to read the story.

That said, I had two good outings on intermediate terrain within the past week. On Sunday, I skied from Whiteface Inn Road in Lake Placid to the top of McKenzie Pass on the Jackrabbit Trail. The cover was excellent, but I understand conditions on the Saranac Lake side of the pass are not so good.

On Tuesday, I skied to Avalanche Lake from South Meadow Road. Again, the cover was good except on parts of the Marcy Dam Truck Trail. Click here to read a more detailed report and view a video of my descent of Avalanche Pass.

For other backcountry options, check out Tony Goodwin’s ski report, which is updated a few times a week, and also Adirondack Almanack‘s Thursday afternoon Outdoor Conditions Report, which often includes suggestions for areas outside the Lake Placid area.

Of course, you can always visit one of the Adirondack Park’s cross-country-ski centers if the backcountry isn’t an option. Despite the low snow, Rick Karlin reports in the Explorer that the Nordic centers are open for business, thanks in part to good grooming. Click here to read Karlin’s story.

Finally, if all else fails, you might try to imitate the guy in this video (one of the best ski videos I’ve seen).

Photo by Phil Brown: A skier on the trail to Raquette Falls.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships Weekend

Lake Placid is once again hosting the bobsled and skeleton World Championships through February 26. Athletes from more than 20 nations are vying for the crown at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and the U.S. team hopes to gain momentum towards the 2014 Winter Olympic Games by medaling on their home track. Lake Placid’s own John Napier will compete in the four-man bobsled.

“The World Championships are the pinnacle event of the season and a great gauge for our teams leading into the Olympic Games,” said Scott Novack, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation High Performance Director.

The two-time Olympic village has staged eight World Championship races. The most recent was in 2009 when Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) piloted his four-man bobsled to victory to claim the first title for the men since 1959, and Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah) earned silver to continue a history of success for the women’s program.

Competition begins with the first two heats of women’s bobsled at 9:30 am on Friday, Feb. 17. Men’s two-man begins at 9 am on Feb. 18, followed by the medal deciding heats of women’s bobsled at 5 pm. Men’s two-man finals will be held at 9 am on Feb. 19, and a team competition will also take place at 1:30 pm.

Racing will continue on Feb. 23 with the first two heats of women’s skeleton at 9:30 am, and the final heats will take place the following morning at 9:45 am. Men’s skeleton athletes take to the ice at 5 pm on Feb. 24 and wrap up at 5 pm on Feb. 25. Men’s four-man bobsled competition will take place at 9 am on Feb. 25, and will conclude the event with the final two heats at 9 am on Feb. 26.

Tickets for the World Championships can purchased by online, calling 518-523-3330, or at the gate day of the event.

The selection committee met yesterday to decide teams competing in World Championships. Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) will compete in the USA-1 sled. Langton was selected to compete with Holcomb in the two-man sled.

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) will compete with Adam Clark (Owenton, Ky.), Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) and either Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.) or Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.) in the four-man sled, and Fogt will be Napier’s brakeman in the two-man sled.

Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) will pilot USA-3. The rookie driver will race with Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) in two-man, and Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas), Robinson and either Beckom or Berkeley in four-man. Beckom and Berkeley will race off on Wednesday to determine if they will compete with USA-2 or USA-3 next weekend.

The U.S. will field three sleds in the women’s bobsled competition. Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) will team with Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) in the KOA sled as USA-1, while Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.) and Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) will partner in the Sliding for Hope sled as USA-2. Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) will compete with Ingrid Marcum (Elmhurst, Ill.) in the USA-3 FDNY sled to complete the roster.

Women’s skeleton athletes Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) and Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) both hold records on the Lake Placid track and will be threats for the podium. Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) and John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) are expected to set the pace in the men’s skeleton event.

Watch live streaming of all events on www.FIBT.com, or take the action with you by downloading the Digotel Live+ for iOS iPhone app. NBC Universal Sports will also broadcast events on the following dates, with times listed in EST: Women’s bobsled at 10 pm on Feb. 18th, men’s two-man bobsled at 6 pm on Feb. 19th, team competition at 5:30 pm on Feb. 23rd, women’s skeleton at 6 pm on Feb. 24th, men’s skeleton at 10 pm on Feb. 25th and men’s four-man bobsled at 6 pm on Feb. 25th.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: New Land Trust Chili Fest

With all 28 trails open on its 287 acres, the New Land Trust (NLT) in Saranac is ready for their 2nd annual Chili Fest and Pot Luck on Saturday, February 18th.

“Trail conditions are hard-packed and icy in spots,” says NLT Board Member Douglas Yu. “We do have a solid-base. Snowshoes would be perfect, especially if venturing off-trail. We consistently have plentiful snow. Our unique location at the foot of Lyon Mt makes this possible. Even we have been impacted by the general lack of snow this year.”

The Chili Fest and Potluck is termed as “super casual” where visitors come and share a noon meal and utilize the free trail system. There is an opportunity to compete in a chili cook-off and enjoy a bonfire that evening. Two dual-use trails, two information kiosks, a snowshoe-only trail, and a bridge on Nightrider are just some of the new improvements to enjoy. Yu encourages newcomers to use the upcoming Chili Fest as an introduction to the New Land Trust.

Yu admits to seeing wild turkey as well as and the usual chickadees, woodpeckers, and occasional Ruffed Grouse as well as tracks from hare and deer while skiing the trails.

Fundraising for this community-based project still continues for the Clubhouse roof but a newly donated woodstove and picnic area make the Clubhouse a cozy place to stop and relax.

“The New Land Trust is entirely supported by generous donations from our members, users, and friends. In addition, we are also grateful for the many hundreds of volunteer hours given for trail work and other infrastructure maintenance,” says Yu. “We appreciate any support we get, but visiting is always free.”

NLT has also found itself to be the recipient of various scouting projects. Most recently The Tree Trail Map was a Girl Scout project by Hannah Racette. The interpretive map starts at the Clubhouse building and identifies 14 different trees such as black cherry and quaking aspen and loops back to the Clubhouse. According to Yu the guide has proven to be a huge asset for school children having to complete Leaf Identification assignments. Visitors and naturalists will also find the Tree Trail Map beneficial.

The New Land Trust is currently a volunteer-run 501(c)3 organization that was founded in 1977 by SUNY Plattsburgh students as an experiment in cooperative land management. It is easy to stay within the property boundary. The New Land Trust borders Stillman Brook to the west, the railroad tracks to the northeast and 37 Road to the east.

If you need a chili recipe for the contest, here is a venison option by Adirondack Almanack contributor Annette Nielsen. Enjoy!

Photo: Skiing at New Land Trust, Saranac. Used with the permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks: Your Four Season Guide to Over 300 Activities. Her second book on Family Activities is due out this summer 2012 for the Champlain Valley Region from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga.



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