World class athletes passing through Lake Placid in the Adirondacks en route to 2014 Winter Olympics
Don't look now, but the next Winter Olympics are just 13 months away in the Russian Riviera. That would be in the host city of Sochi, which is an un-Winter Olympic like city.
The U.S. Luge Team went there in early November for a training camp and started with a swim in the Black Sea on a 75 degree day. Less than 2 hours later, they were on the ice and in winter conditions at the base of Alpika Mountain Resort. Such is the drastic change from the primary host location to many of the competition venues.
It was reported that on Feb. 28, 2010, the final day of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the temperature in Sochi was 60 degrees.
In juxtaposition, the U.S. Ski Team, with our own Andrew Weibrecht, son of Mirror Lake Inn owners Ed and Lisa Weibrecht, raced a series of World Cup events in the Krasnya Polyana Mountains above Sochi in late January 2012. The races occurred in a dramatic alpine setting with boodles of snow and demanding courses.
The Sochi Games will be presented with 2 sets of venues: the Mountain Cluster where skiing, boarding and sliding events will be held, and the Coastal Cluster around Sochi where skating, hockey the Opening Ceremonies (Feb. 7, 2014) and more will take place.
But before the athletes get there, they must qualify for their respective Olympic teams in the seasons prior to the Games. That most always means a trip to Lake Placid, host to a number of World Cup events per year.
That process started in November 2012 when World Cup bobsled and skeleton kicked off the winter season here. It resumes this week with the arrival of World Cup freestyle skiing (moguls Thursday at Whiteface Mt depicted below, and aerials Friday and Saturday nights at the ski jump complex), and concludes with World Cup luge Feb. 8-9 back at Mount Van Hoevenberg outside Lake Placid on Rte. 73.
Athletes in these competitions will seek top World Cup results to put them in good stead for team selection. These events will generally count in that process, as well as the World Cups to be held from November 2013 through January 2014 when squads are finalized.
So as you see, when you attend a World Cup contest in Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain, for the most part you are witnessing an Olympic field of athletes at non-Olympic prices, and without the confusion and, pardon the pun, without the human cluster sometimes created by the masses at the Games.
This week's World Cup freestyle events will conclude Saturday night at the ski jump venue with a fireworks display after 9 PM and when the dramatic night-time aerials wind down.
If you are planning to be in Lake Placid at this time, take a few hours to check out the action and then the pyrotechnics.