Updated: 02/12/2014 5:47 PM
Created: 02/12/2014 4:25 PM WHEC.com
By: Scott Kilbury
Next to California, New York can lay claim to more athletes in the Winter Olympic Games than any other sport. Of the 230 athletes competing in Sochi, 45 of them have trained or competed in Lake Placid, nine are from that region.
It’s the greatest vertical in the east at 3,400 feet. But the biggest selling point of Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, New York is you can ski the same alpine trails where the Olympic skiers made a name for themselves.
Jon Lundin, Olympic Regional Development Authority, said, “People come out there and ask where did Ingemar Stenmark and they’re skiing that same trails where Olympic skiers made a name for themselves.”
Whiteface has expanded in the 34 years since hosting the 1980 games with 86 trails for all abilities and a gondola for a warmer ascent to much of the terrain, but the steep snowy paths used for the downhill, giant slalom and slalom remain, as do many of the wooden timing sheds erected at the Olympic finish lines.
Vadiam Gorchenytk, Russia, said, “The first thing we came here because is great mountain is here."
Over three decades ago, Lake Placid hosted the Olympics. Fast forward to today and Olympians are still on the course.
Geoff Neu said, “There's always someone that's training and you see them out and it's neat to see them competing at the international level. We're always excited about the Olympics.”
In fact, there are eight people with ties to Lake Placid area in this year’s Winter Olympic Games including Andrew Weibrecht, who will race in the super giant slalom and combined.
Whiteface still plays a very important role in the success of the U.S. Ski Team when they compete in the Olympics.
Lundin said, “If you have any dreams of being in the Winter Olympics, you're going to eventually find yourself in Lake Placid.”