Lake Placid Ski Area
- Ski Areas: Lake Placid (Whiteface Mountain)
- Population: 2,800
- Road and Weather Conditions: (518) 523-1363
- Snow Report: (800) THE-ROAD
- Annual Snowfall: 102″
- Ski Season: Late November-March/April
- Chamber of Commerce: (518) 523-2445
- Average Cost 1-bedroom Apartment: $400
- Whiteface Lift Ticket Prices
- Local Newspapers: Lake Placid News, (518) 523-4401; Press Republican, (518) 523-1559
- Whiteface Webcam
Lake Placid’s fame as a winter resort began in 1904 when it introduced the novelty of winter sports to the U.S. That fame has grown over the years, since Lake Placid was chosen twice as host to the Olympic Games, first in 1932 and again in 1980. The skiing is good at Lake Placid, but the whole area is excellent for winter sports in general. World-class athletes still train and compete here, so the area has the feel of an Olympic village. Winters in Lake Placid mean harsh winds, cold, and ice, so those used to skiing any of the Western states may be in for a bit of a shock. The ski area is charming, however, as it lies on the shores of both Mirror Lake and Lake Placid and is surrounded by the vast forests of Adirondack State Park.
Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid’s ski mountain, has the highest vertical drop in the East at 3,216 feet, and some of the most difficult runs. The 158 acres of skiable terrain may frustrate the intermediate skier, as there are plenty of runs for beginners and experts, but not much in between.
The real draws of Lake Placid are the other winter sport activities and facilities.
Lake Placid offers visitors a chance to experience what no other ski area or resort can. Buckle up and go on a bobsled run or whip down the luge tunnel at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic sports complex with some friends, or take a nighttime toboggan run. There are dog-sled rides across the glassy surface of Mirror Lake and plenty of ski jumps to perfect twists and turns. Or go twenty-six stories up in a glass elevator for a prime vantage of the ninety-meter ski ramp. Lake Placid also has an extensive cross-country ski circuit and areas for snowboarding.
Lake Placid is known as a large summer resort area as well as a winter haven. The sunshine melts the frozen lakes in springtime and the New York summer heat drives many people to come cool off in the lakes. Waterskiing on Lake Placid is the most popular activity (Mirror Lake does not allow power boats). There are places to rent power boats, canoes, and fishing boats, and there are many beaches around both lakes. The area also offers good cycling opportunities and in-line skate races are held monthly throughout the summer. The oldest theme park in the U.S., called Santa’s Workshop, North Pole, New York, is near Lake Placid west of Wilmington, New York. This is the home, workshop, and mailing address for Santa Claus and all his helpers. There is also the chance to venture out to High Falls Gorge, a 100-foot drop in the scenic Au Sable River. There are hiking trails, a gift shop and restaurant, and picnic facilities.
Après-ski bars and lounges can be found right at the base of the mountain, but most of the night spots and restaurants are ten miles further down the road in town. Most of the nightlife, drinking, and dancing centers around the big hotels; Cristy’s Nightclub at the Holiday Inn is one of the most popular. Restaurants typically have a cozy, woodsy atmosphere and serve plenty of beef and fish dishes.
The closest airport to Lake Placid is Adirondack Airport, sixteen miles from the resort on Route 86. USAir Express, (800) 428-4322, serves this airport from several northeast cities. Amtrak’s route between New York City and Montreal has a stop in Westport, New York, forty miles east of Lake Placid. Call Amtrak at (800) USA-RAIL for more information. Ground service is available from several taxi companies such as Eddie’s Taxi, (518) 523-2024, and Jan’s Taxi, (518) 523-1891.
There is about a ten-mile distance between the town of Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain. Restaurants, lodges, and bars are fairly spread out along this road, so having a car is a definite plus. There are regularly scheduled buses, however, both within the ski area and branching out to surrounding points of interest in New York. Taxis are easy to find and Amtrak trains run daily through nearby Plattsburg and Westport.
Because Lake Placid is not as isolated as many other ski resort areas, there are more surrounding areas to provide housing, such as Saranac Lake, Wilmington, Keene, Bloomingdale, and, of course, Lake Placid itself.
There are employment opportunities in both the winter and summer seasons in Lake Placid. The NYS Employment Service at 11 St. Bernard Street in Saranac, New York 12983, (518) 891-0440, may be of service in your job search.