Family Fun From The Inside...OUT!
My favorite Christmas gift this year, maybe ever, was from Chris. He booked a Valentine weekend trip for me, him, and Dora in our favorite outdoor winter sports town, the Olympic Village of Lake Placid, NY. A month or so before the trip, we purchased the Olympic Passports for all of us, which gave us free access to many of the Olympic attractions, and discounts on other activities there.
He booked our stay at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort right in town, and on the shore of Mirror Lake (I know, the town of Lake Placid is actually not on the Lake…Placid. That’s another interesting post about the area).
We are up in this area regularly, but usually intent on camping and hiking in the mountains of the High Peaks region, only a 15-minute drive out of Lake Placid. We are both born and raised only a couple of hours from this 2-time Olympic venue and have always been aware of it, but we never took the time to check it out and really appreciate the attractions.
I am so glad he suggested doing this! We had an absolute blast!
We arrived Friday night to our wonderful room at the Arrow – one of the Whiteface rooms complete with wood burning fireplace! We turned in quickly, given our late arrival and our very exciting Saturday Olympic plans.
The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort takes great pride in following countless green practices, a real plus in my book as a lover of the Adirondacks! I cannot wait to go back in the summer to see the green roof!
Saturday morning we got up early, had an amazing breakfast in the hotel restaurant and headed out for our first of many Olympic adventures: a ride on the Olympic Bobsled track!
Just stepping foot on the Olympic grounds is a pretty thrilling thing to do. We checked in at the desk in the Bobsled center (reservations are DEFINITELY recommended….the place was packed!) where we were given a pager and were sent to the bobsled museum on the second floor to await the call to RIDE!
Some photos from the museum, this was really cool!
Before we knew it, our pager was buzzing and we were heading off to the track! A truck picks you up outside of the museum and whisks you away to the halfway point of the track, where crew members help you put on a helmet and get you into your sled.
There is a professional driver, and a brake man, so you just get in and hang on! Once you are seated, they announce your team name over the track PA system and you are OFF! Ohhhh my gosh I wish we could have had the video camera going! This was way more thrilling than any rollercoaster I have ever ridden! It really takes a lot to scare me but at one point I screamed! Haaahahahaaa!
It only takes about 45 seconds to complete the run. So, you are done riiiight about the time you think you might pass out haaahahaaaaa!
Here is a video of the Olympic Bobsled Experience someone posted on youtube – it does not look fast but trust me, it is! I could not even sit upright not long into the ride!
Once you come to a stop, your crew lines you up between them with the sled in front of you for a keepsake photo, which you pick up in the museum, along with your teeshirts and pins to commemorate the scariest 45 seconds of your life. AS IF we could forget it! 🙂
With that done, we were off to our next Olympic adventure…FREE with our passports! A ride up the Whiteface Gondola!
Mt heart raced as we rolled up to this impressive Olympic Mountain. Whiteface…one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks we have yet to climb, is a whole other animal at the ski center!
Unfortunately, winds were quite nasty and the Gondola was not operating. But we did meet some folks from a place we planned to visit the next day – from Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington, NY. They had several of their rehabilitation guests with them to educate passers by about the refuge, and about general wilderness conduct and the impact we have on the true residents of the wild areas we love.
These amazing birds are just so incredible to see up close. I started to think about all of the miles we have hiked though…and our only real owl sighting happened at night when one SWOOPED right above my head after something that had just run across the trail haaahahaaa!! While that was quite an experience, our time spent with Adirondack Wildlife Refuge has me more aware of the many majestic birds of prey that call the Adirondacks home, and I am on a mission this year to spend less time just staring at the trail and more time looking up into the trees to spot these beauties.
So, with the Gondola ride scrubbed due to weather, we decided to head on over to the Ski Jump Center next. This was SO MUCH COOLER than I ever expected!
First of all, you ride a chairlift to the base of the jumps – it has been years since I’ve been on a chairlift and this was even more EPIC because those giant towers got ever closer as we chugged up the hill.
So yeah…a chairlift ride to the top of a hill…AND THEN….OMG the medalist platforms!!!
Did we take a photo on them? HECK YEAH!!!
And off we went to the very top of the tower!!! Smack in the middle of the Adirondack high Peaks region, I hope the beautiful views gave those athletes some comfort before they hurled themselves into Olympic History.
This was the end of our Olympic Center tour for this time as the weather never did cooperate for the Gondola ride.
Part 2 of this trip report will detail the other many fun things we did! A trip to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, another to the Adirondack Wild Center, and we hung out in a castle made of ice in Saranac Lake! Stay tuned!!
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