Ski Orienteering in Lake Placid at the Empire State Winter Games
On Feb 4 and 5 Lake Placid held its annual Empire State Winter Games (ESWG). One of the many sports is a two day ski-orienteering extravaganza. Five Orienteering Ottawa members (Stefan and Alex Bergstrom, Jeff, Eric and Anne Teutsch) drove down for the weekend. In addition to racing, we had the opportunity to watch many other winter sports, although to be honest, after the ski-O we didn’t have a lot of energy for enjoying the rest of the Games. We did watch the very young, the young and the not-so-young short track speed skaters warming up for their races, but our restaurant reservation with the entire group of ski-o-ers cut short our visit to the Olympic arena so we missed their races.
The Lake Placid area, if you’ve never skied there, has oodles of options for skiing. We drove down on Friday and stopped for a ski a half hour before Lake Placid at “The VIC” as the locals call it. Beautifully groomed trails, and a Visitor Centre worth visiting.
The Saturday races were at the Cascade Ski Centre, an intricate network of trails a mere 5 minutes from Lake Placid’s downtown. Plenty of opportunity to turn on the wrong trail, a marsh that some of us decided we should cut through instead of go around (bad plan!) and the best soup you could hope for in the lodge at the end of the race!
Sunday’s race was a score-O event, where we could choose 90 minutes or 2 hours. At Mount Van Hoevenberg, another 5 minutes along the highway from Cascade (and with connecting trails), the site of the 1980 Olympic Cross Country and Biathlon competitions, if you chose the right controls, you could ski right by the ESWG biathletes mid-race, shooting at their targets. Or if you chose the higher points controls, you could ski up, up, up and down, down, down. Fun, fun, fun!
It was a tremendous way to spend a winter weekend, in the hills of the Adirondacks, with fantastic views, great company, and excellent skiing. Thank you David Hunter and Janet Findlay for organizing the races! We highly recommend a bigger group from Ottawa making the trek next year.