Twenty students enjoyed a skiing and boarding weekend over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. For Mr. Buzzelli and students at Saint Ignatius, this has been a traditional way to end the first semester classes for more than twenty seasons: skiing at Whiteface Mountain in Saranac, New York.
Whiteface Mountain is the fifth-highest mountain in New York State, and one of the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. Set apart from most of the other High Peaks, the summit offers a 360-degree view featuring the Adirondacks and perhaps on a clear day glimpses of Vermont and even Canada. The skyscrapers of Montreal, 80 miles away, can be seen on a very clear day. Located in the town of Wilmington (about 13 miles (21 km) from Lake Placid) the mountain is home to a ski area with the highest vertical drop in the eastern United States (3430 feet, or 1,045 m). Part of the post World War II growth in recreational skiing attributed to the efforts of returning veterans of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, Whiteface also hosted the alpine skiing competition of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Unique among the High Peaks, Whiteface features a developed summit and seasonal accessibility by motor vehicle. Whiteface Memorial Highway reaches a parking area at an elevation of 4600 feet, with the remaining 267 feet being obtained by tunnel and elevator. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiteface_Mountain
A quarter century after it hosted the Olympics, Lake Placid is still all about winter games. Race down the ice chute feet first on a luge sled and [olympic] try not to stretch your toes to save that extra .001 of a second on the clock…try not to push just a little harder as you ski into the cross country finish stadium…try not to put a little extra lean into the arena turn under the lights at the speedskating oval…look down the in-run of the 120-meter ski jump and…well, let’s not go overboard here! You get the picture. This is not your average ski town. Welcome to Lake Placid, the surprisingly unspoiled and quiet village that has been host to two Winter Olympics, 1932 and 1980, and the 2000 Winter Goodwill Games. The memories these stir, combined with lots of ongoing outdoor activities and events, set Lake Placid apart as a winter sports mecca.
As you drive past the dramatic Olympic jumps, just south of the village, you’ll know this isn’t an ordinary winter vacation spot. The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) operates the multi-facility recreational area. More world-class winter sports athletes train and compete here than anywhere else in North America. The facilities also attract competitions in all of the Olympic winter sports, so athletes of all ages, nationalities, and abilities fill the town throughout the season, constantly refreshing the village’s Olympic atmosphere. Read more..
The Swiss Acres Inn has been more than accommodating to our young skiers and boarders. Family owned and operated, general manager Shanna Swem made our late arrival was smooth and stress free. Our rooms were ready, our lift tickets in place and a warm breakfast awaited our early wakeup. And as good as the hearty breakfast was, an equally satisfying dinner awaited us upon our return from the slopes at the end of the day.
Saturday evening’s entertainment was a walk through downtown Saranac, New York. Outdoor hockey, ice skating on the Olympic oval, or bowling at Bowlwinkles took quite a bit of energy after 8 hours of skiing and boarding. Of course there was also the opportunity to see where the “Miracle on Ice” took place in 1980.
So after a few hours of sleep, breakfast and Sunday Mass at St. Agnes, off to the slopes for another 8 hours of skiing and boarding!
And so the trip ends with a shower and dinner at the lodge and several movies on the bus with few students awake to enjoy them. Parents await the 5:15 AM arrival back in the land of Cleveland.