Ski Town Secrets: Lake Placid, NY
Photos courtesy of Mirror Lake Inn
It’s in perpetual motion. A ski town in summer can seem active, even fluid… especially one like Lake Placid, NY, where passionate Whiteface skiers turn to golfers and push-it-to-the-limit road cyclists when the weather turns fine.
Lake Placid sits quietly in a cradle of the Adirondacks, a small northeastern town with a big beating heart—a giant clock that chimes the hour, its melodies ringing merrily across the lake. Wake up on a summer morning and peer out your window. Under the shadow of Whiteface Mountain you’ll find runners and cyclists slipping along pavement still slick from the morning’s mountain dew. There’ll be a crew of kayakers poking along the shore of Mirror Lake. And though barely visible, swimmers will be stroking their way across the bay, most in perpetual training for the Lake Placid Iron Man, held each year at the end of July.
The town, while titled Lake Placid, is positioned on Mirror Lake. The Lake Placid is located on the outskirts, a matter of fact for locals, but one that confuses newcomers. Still, the town’s twisting roads and houses-on-hills soon prove easy to navigate. It isn’t long before visitors abandon their cars and take up exploration on foot; or unstrap a bike from a rack and take it for a long, undulating road tour. It seems silly to drive a car in a place like Placid. The town hosted an Olympic Winter Games… twice. The Olympic Oval is in the front yard of the local high school. Physical activity here is taken for granted.
Your choice for action is unlimited. Mirror Lake is full of canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and paddle boats—watercraft without motors. Lake Placid (the lake) has power boat rentals and ferry tours. There’s a gondola that’ll sail you up to the tip of Whiteface on summer days, or a twisting drive along Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway to the top followed by a 360-degree walk. There are six golf courses close to the town, including the venerable, historic Whiteface Club. There is rock climbing, gorge exploring, yoga, and loads of fast water fly-fishing. There are bobsleigh, luge and ski jump facilities to tour… plus, of course, an Olympic museum.
Painted bright greens, blues, reds and yellows, Adirondack chairs are lined up along Mirror Lake. Visitors take to them in the afternoons once they’ve cycled and golfed and swum and hiked to the peak of 4,865-foot Whiteface, one of the highest in the Adirondacks. Around 4 pm they drift to the patio of The Cottage, an après-ski hangout in winter; an après-cycle stop in summer. Operated by the plush, Victorianesque Mirror Lake Inn, The Cottage is perched at the water’s edge, just as its name suggests. The food is warming and tummy filling. There are ski trophies and stickers on the walls by the bar. Andrew Weibrecht, the US Olympic bronze medalist in Super-G in 2010, is feted… he should be, Andrew’s parents own the place.
Indeed, at the end of the day, the Weibrecht’s Mirror Lake Inn, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World, is the place in Placid recover from all this pent-up, post-ski-season motion. Book a room in the welloaked new Colonial House, surrounded by white veranda, blue lake, and airy Adirondack views. Dine in The View, a AAA four-diamond restaurant, on Himalayan Red Rice Risotto or Bacon Wrapped Diver Scallops. Or simply settle by the bar, not far from the baby grand, and let the Sommelier pour your wine. It’ll be a perfect end to an active, fluid summer day in the ski town of Lake Placid.
Lake Placid: www.LakePlacid.com
Whiteface Mountain: www.whiteface.com
Mirror Lake Inn: www.MirrorLakeInn.com
Not only that, but its vertical drop of 4,000 feet is similar to skiing from the top of the tram in Jackson Hole down to the village.
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