You may see Olympic-caliber athletes in a variety of sports training in and around Lake Placid, which was the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics. National and international competitions in bobsledding and luge are held at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, alpine racing and freestyle competition at Whiteface Mountain, and speed skating at the Sheffield Speed Skating Oval in the center of Lake Placid. Hockey and figure-skating competitions are held in the ice arena next door to the Olympic oval. But you don't have to spend all your time on the sidelines.
You might strap on some skates and take a spin on the speed-skating oval or the indoor ice arena; shoot down an old ski slide in a toboggan; or hurtle down a bobsled run. Go downhill skiing at Whiteface, the largest alpine resort in the North Country, or cover a few miles on cross-country skis at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Head to the southeastern part of Adirondack Park for the Gore Mountain Ski Center, a Whiteface sibling with a 2,100-foot vertical drop, and the Garnet Hill Cross-Country Ski Center.
During the 1980 Olympics, the Verizon Sports Complex was the site of the luge, bobsled, cross-country skiing, and biathlon events. And this is the perfect place to try some of these sports yourself. In winter you might whoosh down the ½-mi bobsled run at 50 mph–60 mph—a professional driver and brakeman accompany you—or steer a modified luge along a serpentine track. From mid-June to early November, the bobsled ride is offered on wheels. If you're prone to motion sickness, consider taking some Dramamine first or avoiding the bobsled. The ride is not only fast, but is bumpy and sways a lot. Olympic Center, 2634 Main St., Lake Placid, NY, 12946. 518/523–4436. www.orda.org. Bobsled ride $75, luge $60. Winter only. Call or check Web for times.
National Hockey League training camps are held at the Olympic Center during the pre-season, and the women's U.S. national hockey team makes its home here. You might catch ice-hockey tournaments or college games at the arena. From late November to mid-March, you may skate ($7) on the outdoor Sheffield Speed Skating Oval, where Eric Heiden won his five Olympic golds during the 1980 games, or at the indoor 1932 Olympic Rink. From late June to late August, the indoor Lussi Rink is open to the public. 2634 Main St., Lake Placid, NY, 12946. 518/523–1655. www.orda.org.