Save, Spring, Splurge: Live Your Winter Olympic Dreams in Lake Placid

by  Christina Valhouli | Feb 2, 2018
Lake Placid Speed Skating Oval
Lake Placid Speed Skating Oval

If you can’t make it to Pyeongchang in February, there’s another way to get up close to the Olympic spirit: Plan a trip to Lake Placid in New York, the host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. This Adirondack town offers visitors plenty of opportunities to get in on the Olympic action, from skating to cross-country skiing at former Olympic sites. For many, the big draw is skiing at Whiteface Mountain, which has the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies. Whether you’re into adrenaline racing activities or gentler sports, Lake Placid offers something for every budget.


Book a stay at Hotel North Woods. Located right on Main Street, this stylish hotel is right in the middle of all the action, and is walking distance to most of Lake Placid’s restaurants and bars. The décor is bright and colorful but also embraces Adirondack style, with plenty of wood and antler chandeliers. Midweek rates start at $89 while weekend rates are about $166.

If Mirror Lake is frozen, one of the best activities you can do is free, and that's to go for a walk along the icy surface. Or spend $10 on unlimited toboggan rides, right on the lake. An old ski jump has been converted into a chute, and riders will hurtle down at 35mph before careening across the surface of the lake. For a quick and cheap lunch, grab a bagel sandwich at Soulshine Bagels.

Burn off that lunch by renting (or better yet, bring your own) skates and go for a lap around the Olympic Speed Skating Oval (for just $8 per person) where American Eric Heiden won five speed-skating gold medals in 1980. 

For dinner, try local favorite Lisa G’s for thin crust pizzas and beer-battered cod.


Wake up at High Peaks Resort, a traditional Adirondacks-style hotel right on Mirror Lake. Midweek rates start at $157 while weekends start at $261. Fuel up with smoked salmon eggs Benedict at The Breakfast Club before heading to Mount Van Hoevenberg, which held Olympic cross-country and biathlon events (prices are $20 for an adult day pass). Hit the trails in cross-country skis or snowshoes, then enjoy the solitude before heading indoors to warm up beside the fire, and order a healthy lunch from Green Goddess Market.

After lunch, head to High Falls Gorge. Strap on yaktraks over snow boots for traction, and stroll along the well-marked trails to soak up the views of the waterfalls and ice formations. At the end of the hike, roast marshmallows behind the visitor’s lodge. Need one more activity? Try gentle dog-sledding on Mirror Lake for $10. It’s a quick ride but perfect for families.

For dinner, you’ve earned a big meal at Smoke Signals, where you can feast on fried pickles, and wings and ribs that are smoked in-house.


Combine a weekend of winter activities with pampering spa treatments at the Whiteface Lodge, which is also home to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Midweek rates start at $358 while weekends start at $548. Head to Whiteface Mountain for the ultimate ski day ($84.99 for a 1 day ticket). The mountain caters to every ability. Beginners and kids should stick to the Bear Den area of the mountain, while skilled skiers can choose from 98 trails. If you leave early, relax in a horse-drawn sleigh ride ($49) before heading to Liquids and Solids for dinner. The kitchen, helmed by James Beard-nominated chef Tim Loomis, specializes in house-made charcuterie.

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