Posts Tagged ‘winter sports’

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back At The Almanack:Winter Sports Writer Christie Sousa

It’s that time of year – time to welcome back Almanack winter sports contributor Christie Sausa of Lake Placid. Christie is a member of the historic figure and speed skating culture in the Olympic Village, and writes about those sports for the Lake Placid News and on her own blog, the popular Lake Placid Skater, which she founded in 2007.

As the winter sports season gets rolling Sausa, who attends North Country Community College, will begin covering local competitions and local athletes and the broader winter sports experience from popular sports like ski-jumping, downhill, snowboarding, and cross country, to the sliding sports (luge, skeleton, and bobsledding), as well as the more obscure winter pastimes of biathlon, skijoring, and dogsledding.

Sausa is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Lake Placid, the Connecting Youth and Communities Coalition, the Skating Club of Lake Placid, and the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club. When she is not on the ice herself, or writing about what happens there, Sausa and her mom run the Lake Placid Skate Shop.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Whiteface Ranked #1 in East by SKI Magazine

The votes are in, they’ve all been counted and SKI Magazine readers named Whiteface, as the number-one ski resort in the eastern United States, second overall in eastern North America. The independent survey of 7,000 readers put the Olympic mountain back on top for the first time since 2003. In 2009-10, the mountain was ranked fifth. Only Mont Tremblant, Quebec stood atop Whiteface in the SKI survey.

Whiteface, which boasts the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies, 283 skiable acres and 86 trails, received high marks for its Après-Ski (#2), Dining (#2), Family Programs (#2), Scenery (#2), Terrain/Challenge (#2), Lodging (#4) and Overall Satisfaction (#5). And for the 18th consecutive year, Whiteface/Lake Placid was chosen number-one for its Off-Hill activities, thanks to its array of Olympic-style sports including bobsledding, ice skating, cross country skiing, ski jumping, as well events such as World Cup racing, shows and concerts.

Over the past 10 years, Whiteface has invested in a gondola, chairlifts, parking, improved and increased snowmaking and grooming, terrain parks, upgrades to the base lodge and dining areas and expansion of the Kids Kampus, to name a few. Most recently, Whiteface opened Lookout Mountain in January 2009 and last season added 25 additional acres of glade skiing with the opening of the Sugar Glades.

For a complete look at the “Top 50 Resort Guide,” visit www.skinet.com.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

World Cup Sliding and Skiing to Return to Placid

Many of the world’s best winter athletes will be back in Lake Placid when World Cup action returns this winter. Several of the same athletes who competed in last February’s winter games in Vancouver will also be competing in the World Cup bobsled and skeleton racing, Dec. 13-19, and World Cup freestyle skiing, Jan. 17-23.

American Steve Holcomb is expected to headline the World Cup bobsled field when the world’s top drivers, sliders and teams return to the one-mile long Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex track. Last February, Holcomb broke a 62-year U.S. gold medal drought when he raced to glory in the Olympic four-man bobsled competition. Holcomb’s teammates, Erin Pac and Elana Meyers, are also expected to race in Lake Placid. The two women enter the 2010-2011 World Cup season as Olympic bronze medalists.

Other sliders in the field could include men’s skeleton Olympic champion Jon Montgomery, of Canada, and American John Napier, who won his first-career World Cup race last season on the 1,455-meter long course. Napier is now serving in Afghanistan as a member of the Vermont National Guard’s 86th Infantry Mountain Combat Brigade.

The World Cup aerial and mogul field promises to be just as deep. Hannah Kearney and Patrick Deneen will headline the U.S. mogul team lineup, while Ryan St. Onge will lead the U.S. aerial squad. Kearney is the reigning Olympic women’s moguls gold medalist, while Deneen carries the title of 2009 world champion into the event. St. Onge has won five-career World Cup aerial events and is also the 2009 world champion.

The Lake Placid event is the only World Cup in the United States and will also serve as a qualifier for the U.S. ski team’s world championship squad. The 2011 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships are slated for Feb. 2-5 at Deer Valley Resort, in Park City, Utah.

Also on tap this winter, America’s Cup bobsled and skeleton racing, Jan. 9-16 and March 27-April 2. InterContinental Cup Skeleton racing also returns, Jan. 24-29, and the FIBT bobsled drivers’ school is slated for March 21-25. ORDA’s events calendar also features the Eastern Synchronized Skating competition, Feb. 3-6, the Lake Placid Loppet, Feb. 5, and the annual Empire State Games, Feb. 18-20.

For a complete schedule of all of the activities and events taking place on ORDA’s Olympic venues visit the ORDA website.

Photo: Concentration sets in as a Women’s bobsled team gets ready to slide the track at the Olympic Sports Complex at Mt. Van Hoevenberg during the 2005 Bobsled and Skeleton World Cup. Photo Courtesy ORDA.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Want A Free Ski Pass? Dress The Part

Here’s a question: how dedicated of a skier are you?

Dedicated enough, perhaps, to wear ski gear in the middle of summer?

That’s what Whiteface workers are looking for. This Saturday, the “Whiteface Road Warriors” will be hanging around Lake George looking to give away winter 2010/11 day passes. Here’s the catch: to qualify, you’ll have to risk heatstroke, strange stares and perhaps forced psychiatric care by dressing for snow skiing in August.

Don’t worry — you don’t have to wear your insulated one-piece jumpsuit. A ski helmet, goggles, boots or other equipment will be enough, according to an announcement from Whiteface this week.

“If you’re spotted dressed for winter, you’ll automatically win a ticket,” Whiteface officials said.

This Saturday the crew will be lurking around Lake George’s Million Dollar Beach, Main Street and the various campgrounds. Next weekend the crew promises to be at Albany’s Farmer’s Market at Empire State Plaza, Washington Park and the bar Red Square, which is hosting an event called the Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad (don’t ask, but it sounds like the kind of crowd where a guy in ski goggles and boots won’t get looked at twice).

The crew will also be in Saratoga Springs on the weekend of Aug. 20 to 22. Visits are also being planned for New York City and Canada in the fall.

Sounds like a clever promotion for Whiteface and good way for those skiers who don’t embarrass easily to win a free pass. If you want to follow the exploits of the Whiteface Road Warriors, click here.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

NCAA Div III Hockey to Return to Lake Placid

The NCAA Division III men’s ice hockey committee recently announced that Lake Placid, N.Y. will host both the 2012 and 2013 Division III men’s ice hockey national championships. The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and State University of New York College at Plattsburgh (SUNY Plattsburgh) are the co-hosts of the two tournaments.

This year, the nation’s top four teams will vie for the national crown at Ridder Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota before returning to the famed 1980 Herb Brooks Olympic arena, which played host to the last three national championships, teaming with SUNY Plattsburgh to co-host the past two.

The championship weekends in Lake Placid will feature two semi-final games, on the first day, followed by the championship match-up on the second day. Last year, St. Norbert College, Oswego State, Norwich University and SUNY Plattsburgh vied for the Division III men’s ice hockey national championship crown. Norwich University skated away with the title, beating St. Norbert College 2-1 in what was the longest game in NCAA Division III tournament history, 99 minutes, 29 seconds.

Photo: NCAA Hockey courtesy Wikipedia


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lake Placid Celebrates Olympic Day Saturday

The Lake Placid Olympic Training Center and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) will be hosting Olympic Day, on Saturday, June 26, from 1-3 p.m. at the Olympic Training Center.

The free event gives families and youngsters the chance to try Olympic sports such as bobsled and biathlon. Participants can even try luge on the fully refrigerated start ramps inside USA Luge’s headquarters. Visitors can also watch freestyle athletes train on trampolines and there will be autograph sessions with luge, bobsled, skeleton, biathlon, ski jumping and freestyle athletes.

Guests will also be given the chance to win great raffle prizes including dinner with an Olympian at the Olympic Training Center and enjoy great games and ice cream. There will also be live music performed by U.S. biathlete and two-time Olympian Lowell Bailey.

Those who participate in Olympic Day will also receive ORDA coupons good for 50% off a Lake Placid bobsled ride, 50% off admission to the Olympic Jumping Complex and 50% off the Be a Biathlete.

During last February’s Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, 12 area athletes competed for the United States. Lake Placid’s Mark Grimmette, a five-time Olympian in doubles’ luge, was the team’s flag bearer during the Opening Ceremonies, while Andrew Weibrecht, also of Lake Placid, won a bronze medal in the men’s Super-G. Vermontville’s Bill Demong claimed silver in the Nordic combined team event and gold in the large hill Nordic combined event. Overall, the U.S. Olympic squad celebrated its best Olympics ever, claiming the overall medal count with 37.

Olympic Day is an international event celebrating and promoting the participation in sport by men, women and children from all walks of life in all corners of the world. It is a worldwide commemoration of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s June 23, 1894, convening the first International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting at the Sorbonne in Paris, and the founding of the Modern Olympic Games. National Olympic Committees (NOCs) throughout the world will also participate in the international celebration, with each Olympic Committee sending Olympic Day greetings to participating nations and to further the Olympic spirit and movement.

For more information about Olympic Day, visit teamusa.org, or whitefacelakeplacid.com.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Golf Tournament to Benefit NY Snow Sports Athletes

Supporters of the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) efforts on behalf of New York snow sport athletes will be hitting the Mountain Course at the Lake Placid Club for the 12th Annual NYSEF Open golf tournament on Sunday, June 6, 2010. With the event less than a month away 24 teams and 26 sponsors have already registered, with an expected 35+ teams to compete.

Last year’s event raised over $10,000 for area athletes competing in snow sports – alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, cross country skiing, nordic combined and biathlon. This year’s 2010 Olympics boasted 7 former and current NYSEF athletes representing the United States, including: Nick Alexander (Ski Jumping), Lowell Bailey (Biathlon), Tim Burke (Biathlon), Bill Demong (Nordic Combined), Peter Frenette (Ski Jumping), Haley Johnson (Biathlon), and Andrew Weibrecht (Alpine Skiing). » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Whiteface Season Pass Deadline Extended

So you haven’t purchased your 2010-2011 adult (ages 23-64), non-holiday Whiteface season pass yet, well you still have time. The deadline to ski and ride the Olympic mountain all season long, excluding holidays, for just $409 has been extended until May 20. This super savings will not be available after this date.

The adult (ages 23-64) Whiteface/Gore non-holiday pass is $549 when purchased by June 17 and increases to $659 before Nov. 18. The blackout dates for both non-holiday passes are Christmas week, Dec. 26-Jan. 2; Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Jan. 15-17; and President’s Week, Feb. 19-26.

The full season pass for Whiteface and Gore is just $699 and increases to $825 June 18 through November 18. These passes are interchangeable at both mountains and are good for every day of the ski season.

Junior (ages 7-12) full season passes are available for $299 when purchased by Nov. 18. The price increases to $399 after that date. The young adult (ages 13-22) and college full season Whiteface/Gore passes are only $375 when purchased by Nov. 18 and increase to $475 thereafter. Proof of ages or college credits are required to purchase this pass.

The Whiteface senior (ages 65-69) non-holiday pass is also just $409 and there are no deadlines for purchase, while the senior Whiteface/Gore non-holiday pass is only $549 and the senior full season pass is just $699. There are also no deadlines to purchase either pass. Skiers ages 70 and older can ski or ride Whiteface and Gore all season long for only $210.

To purchase your season pass today, log on to www.WhitefaceLakePlacid.Com, or call 518.946.2223. Financing is available for adult full season passes when purchased on or before June 17.

Whiteface was also chosen by SnowEast Magazine readers as the East’s favorite resort. Whiteface topped such resorts as Sugarloaf and Sunday River, both in Maine, and even Killington, in Vermont. More than 3,500 readers took part in the poll and they also tabbed Whiteface as the most scenic resort and their favorite destination village.

Whiteface boasts the East’s greatest vertical drop, and was recently named to the Top Five Resorts in the East in SKI Magazine’s Reader Resort Survey 2010. The mountain also received kudos for Après Ski Activities (No. 4), Scenery (No. 5), Challenge and Family Programs (No. 6), Lodging (No. 6), Overall Value (No.7), and Terrain/Variety (No. 8). Whiteface/Lake Placid also earned the distinction of being #1 in the nation for Off-Hill Activities for the 17th straight year.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Alan Wechsler: Why I’ll Never Be A Winter 46-er

I was driving over Cascade Pass with a friend recently when we noticed all the cars parked near the trailhead to Cascade and Porter mountains, the two easiest of the 46 High Peaks.

Was there a party going on? There must have been hundreds of people climbing that peak on this warm Saturday in mid-March.

Then my friend hit upon it: it was the last day of winter. Anybody wanting to gain the honor of “Winter Forty-Sixer” needed to climb these peaks by the end of today, or have to wait another season. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 22, 2010

US Alpine Skiing Championships at Whiteface

US Olympians and novice skiers alike raced in this weekend’s 2010 US Alpine Skiing Championships, held at Whiteface Mountain March 20th-23rd.

In the women’s Super G event, Keely Kelleher had the fastest time and skiing bib one. The men’s Super G winner was Travis Ganong, leading the group from the beginning and winning his second US Championship in 2010.

The winner in the women’s slalom championship today was Sarah Schleper, proving that she is still one of the US’s top alpine ski racers. Her two-run time was 2 minutes 03.67 seconds. Schleper was happy with the experience: “I’m here to hang out with my younger teammates and maybe win a title, so this title is really icing on a hard two years, but a lot of fun.” Schleper is a four time Olympian.

Tommy Ford was the men’s slalom champion, finishing with a two-run time of 2:02.17. After celebrating his 21st birthday yesterday, the victory was icing on the cake for the young racer: “I just turned it on the second run, I’ve turned it on at the end of the year, that’s what I’ve been doing the last few years….even in sixth place I didn’t let up, I knew that not everyone can ski this stuff, I had hope at the top because I had the experience and others haven’t skied it as much.” A Dartmouth college freshman, Ford is a 2010 Olympian in Giant Slalom. He was also the overall winner in the combined event, which combines yesterday’s Super G event and today’s slalom event.

Racing will continue on Monday 3/22 with the men’s Giant Slalom, and on Tuesday 3/23 with the women’s Giant Slalom.

For complete event results, visit http://www.whiteface.com/events/alpine/schedule.php

Photo: Women’s slalom podium (l-r) Erin Mielzynski, Sarah Schleper and Hailey Duke at the 2010 Visa U.S. Alpine Championships at Whiteface Mountain outside of Lake Placid, NY (Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team)


Monday, March 15, 2010

2010 US Alpine Championships Preview

March 20th through 23rd, the 2010 US Alpine Championships will be held at Whiteface Mountain. The host town of Lake Placid is prepared to welcome the athletes, including recent Olympians from Vancouver.

Olympians competing at the competition include three-time medalist Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, Calif.), 2006 gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) , Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah), Jimmy Cochran (Keene, N.H.), Will Brandenburg (Spokane, Wash.), Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.), Nolan Kasper (Warren, Vt.), Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, Colo.), Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, Calif.), Leanne Smith (Conway, N.H.), Chelsea Marshall (Pittsfield, Vt.), Hailey Duke (Boise, Idaho), Megan McJames (Park City, Utah), Kaylin Richardson (Edina, Minn.) and Sarah Schleper (Vail, Colo.).

A notable name is missing from this line-up- Lake Placid native Andrew Weibrecht. After winning a bronze medal in the Super G event at Vancouver, Weibrecht dislocated his shoulder. Still, he anticipates being at the event to cheer on his teammates- “It would have been perfect to wrap up my competition year at home, but I’ll still be there to support my teammates and the hundreds of racers from across the country gunning for U.S. bragging rights.”

The US Alpine Championships is an opportunity for young racers as well as seasoned veterans to race for National titles. Whiteface Mountain also hosted the event in 2003, when lack of snow in Alyeska, Alaska motivated the Olympic Regional Development Authority to pick up the races.

On Saturday March 20th, an Opening Ceremonies celebration will be held in Lake Placid. For more information, visit http://www.whiteface.com/events/alpine/index.php.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Adirondack Bracket 2010: Selection Day

In limited areas of the Adirondack Park, an understated excitement built gradually throughout the day yesterday as selections were made for the 2010 Adirondack Bracket.

Bracket pairings were made by combining the top 28 randomly selected entrants from two lists (a longer list of general Adirondackiana, and a shorter list of 2009’s Adirondack headliners). Four more slots were reserved for last year’s final four, including 2009 Bracket champion Stewart’s Ice Cream Shops. The remaining slots will be filled later this week by a play-in round which sets four randomly selected entrants from a list suggested by our readers, against the Bracket judges’ “Hand o’ God” choices (our favorites that somehow missed the first cut). A preview of the play-in round follows the jump. . .

So here is how things stack up for this week’s play-in round:

Game one pits late 19th/early 20th Century painter Winslow Homer (who spent time throughout his career at the North Woods Club in Minerva—his last visit to the Adirondacks occurring one hundred years ago this summer, shortly before his death), against the frankenpine: that towering synthesis of artifice and nature, and itself a subject of contemporary Adirondack painting (not to mention inspiration for an excellent band).

Saranac Lake’s doyens of drill. . . the Idas of March. . . those angels of aluminum and mesh—the incomparable Lawnchair Ladies—sashay into the Bracket against an equally formidable lineup of local adirondack ski hills. This squad of impressive topography (talking about the ski hills, now), once thought to be heading downhill, fast, has made a strong comeback this winter led by Big Tupper and Hickory. The list also includes a couple cross country ski mountains, one of which boasts the only ski mountain palindrome in the Adirondacks: “O! Dewey. Aye, we do!” This match up could go either way, but one thing you can count on: Chairs will certainly be lifted, and might be thrown.

Game three features perhaps the most interesting play-in pairing, with Olmstedville’s Pete Hornbeck and his fleet of featherweight canoes taking on Lake George’s Winter Carnival, the village’s annual string of wintertime events held every weekend throughout the month of February. Any other year this would have been no contest as canoes are not much use on a solid lake surface, especially with a lot of cars and snow machines and dog sleds racing around. This year, however, warm weather forced cancellation of some carnival events, premature demolition of the ice palace and relocation of the dog sled races from the slushy lake top to safer ground inland. The Fund for Lake George reports that the lake failed to fully freeze over this winter (the first time since 2002). Though this might be an advantageous climate for a naval assault, Hornbeck will have his work cut out for him if he is to make it to a much anticipated confrontation with Senator Betty Little in the “Upstate Great Eight” round next week.

The final play-in contest throws New York State’s official fish, the brook trout, into the mix with back yard sugarin’. Not a whole lot to say about this one except: that is some mighty fine eating.

Join us later this week for play-in results and a preview of the first round.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Don Morris: Notes On Winter Paddling

Winter paddling in the Adirondacks? Sure! Sometimes. While not a preferred activity for everyone, it can be done. I’ve paddled in every month of the year and have managed to have fun (most of the time).

Flatwater paddling is generally limited to short sections of rivers below dams, where the released water produces fairly consistent current. Whitewater paddling is generally possible only after extended thaws. In my experience, this is pretty hit or miss from year to year depending on how thick the ice build-up is, how warm it actually gets, and how long the thaw lasts. The topography of the river counts too. Deep, narrow ravines and gorges get little sunshine. Twisty rivers and rivers with very large boulders or small islands often trap ice.

Obviously, you have to dress warmly. For flatwater, basic paddling clothes, layers of fleece, neoprene booties, and gloves (or poagies) are usually sufficient as long as you don’t flip. [Poagies are hand covers that go over your paddle shaft or grip and are attached via velcro—some are insulated.] Whitewater paddlers need very warm clothing. A drysuit is preferred (though a wet suit can work too) and you’ll definitely want a helmet liner and poagies.

I limit my winter paddling to rivers I know well and that are well within my skill level. I prefer shorter trips and ones that don’t require me to get out of my boat very often because it’s easier to stay warm. Before paddling in winter, you should check out your take-out spot and make sure you can get out of the river. This seems obvious, but you never know. If you can, also view the river at mid-points as it’s not unheard of to have an open river at the beginning and end of a trip, only to have it iced up at the mid-point.

Often, your only way to get into a river in winter is to get in your boat and slide down an ice shelf or snow bank and plop into the water. (You want a strong boat for this.) The problem is that when you’re ready to get out of the river, you can’t slide uphill. Once on the river proceed cautiously and be ready to exit the river. A clear river can quickly turn into a congested one. Sharp bends are often a problem—stay to the outside of the turn so you can get a better view of what’s around the corner. If you’re concerned about a bigger rapid or a possible obstruction, get out earlier than you normally might because you may not be able to get out further downstream. Prepare to deal with ice chunks coming down the river–some are small and some can be huge. They can nudge your boat or smash it—again, you want a plastic boat. Try not to flip. Even with a good roll, flipping in winter water gives you a major “ice-cream” headache that can be very disorienting. Start your car as soon as you get off the river so you can warm up and change into dry clothes as quickly as possible. Zippers, straps, etc. are likely to seize very quickly and spray skirts become stiff. A friend and I once had to drive about 15 minutes before we could take off any of our paddling gear.

You can actually have fun as long as you pick times/locations very carefully, paddle within your experience level, only paddle rivers that you know very well, and take extra precautions.

Photo: WinterCampers.com’s Mark, Chris, Sparky and Matt on a back-country “paddle”. Courtesy WinterCampers.com


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Local Residents, Adirondack Council Interns, Olympians

For the interest of our readers, here is a note from the Adirondack Council about the their connection to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Two former Council interns, Lowell Bailey and Haley Johnson, both from Lake Placid, competed in the biathlon. The Council’s note to the media is presented here in it’s entirety:

Two former Adirondack Council Clarence Petty Interns are competing on the US Biathlon Team at the 2010 games. Lowell Bailey and Haley Johnson, both of Lake Placid, both successfully completed their internships — earning college credit while working in the field of conservation and while training for this Olympics. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 22, 2010

30 Years of The Empire State Winter Games

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.

For more information on the Empire State Winter Games or the State Games Organization, visit their websites at http://www.empirestategames.org/winter/index.htm and http://www.stategames.org/.



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