On a recent trip to Lake Placid, NY, we got to check out a piece of Olympic history with the Olympic Sites Passport. Our group included some pretty little kids (2 and 4), but there was still plenty for them to do and see using the Lake Placid Olympic Region Passport. I’m a huge fan of the Olympics (any season, any sport!), so it was fun to pass some of that excitement on to my kids. Even off-season, and well after hosting the games, the Olympic facilities at Lake Placid are impressive.
We started out at Whiteface, the ski resort just outside of Lake Placid. We drove up the Veterans Memorial Highway, which goes to the summit of Whiteface Mountain. It’s a beautiful drive, and at the top you walk through a tunnel to get to an elevator to the summit. At the top, there are lots of places to explore, take in the view, and even rock scramble (obviously, this was a big hit with the kids!).
After driving back down to the base of the Whiteface ski area, we rode the Cloudsplitter Gondola to the top of the ski hill. There are some beautiful views at the top, but unfortunately for us, a thundershower chased us back into the gondola just after arriving!
Olympic Jumping Complex:
Our next stop was the Olympic Jumping Complex. If you only make one Olympic stop during your Lake Placid trip, this should be it. I had only seen the jumping towers on TV, and to see it on site was truly impressive. To tour the jumps, you take a chairlift to the base of the tower (our two-year-old’s favorite part by far!), then a 26-story elevator to the top. Once you’re up there, you can go outside to the top of the jump to get the ski jumper’s perspective. The kids were amazed that someone could really do that (especially our 4 year old, who has some skiing experience). Our two year old volunteered on the spot to strap on some skis and go…maybe next year!
After touring the jumps, you’ll want to check out the freestyle pool. We lucked out on our visit, and got to watch some jumpers practicing all sorts of flips and twists. Check their calendar for the Summer Jumping Series when planning your visit, and you’ll get to see some of the best jumpers in the world, and maybe even meet the athletes.
The Olympic Sites Passport also gets you into the Olympic Sports Complex, where the sliding (bobsled, skeleton, etc.) facilities are located, and the Olympic Center, where you can tour the Olympic museum and the skating rink (site of the 1980 Miracle on Ice). Ours were a little young for these activities, but if you have any winter sports fanatics in your group, it’s a can’t-miss!
The Olympic Sites Passport is also a great deal. It’s only $32 per person (kids 6 and under are free), and gets you in to all the sites listed above (Whiteface, Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic Sports Complex, and Olympic Center). There are all sorts of additional activities (at additional cost, but at a discount with the Olympic Sites Passport), including nature treks, mountain biking at Whiteface, and bobsled rides. The ORDA (Olympic Regional Development Authority, the organization that manages the Olympic facilities) website isn’t terribly helpful, but all information can be found on the Whiteface site.
Date last visited: August 29-30, 2013
Distance from the interstate:
Lake Placid is pretty remote, and is not really on the way to anything, but it’s still worth a visit! It’s about a 2 or 2 ¼ hour drive from Albany, about 30 miles off Interstate 87. Wondering where to stay? Our pick is Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort.
Directions / Contact:
Site locations can be found on the Whiteface website. Tickets can be bought at the ORDA store at 2426 Main Street, Lake Placid, NY 12946; tel. (518) 523-1420.
As I disclose whenever applicable, our family experienced the Olympic Region as guests of ORDA for the purpose of review.