Scary fun without the cold
You’d think everything would come to a grinding halt, sparks flying from grinding metal on concrete – if you tried bobsledding without ice. But the folks at the Lake Placid Olympic Sliding Center have figured out how to let the thrilling bobsledding fun go on in the off season.
All summer long the Olympic Sliding Center at Lake Placid allows Average Joes to get a taste of the extreme sport of bobsledding using specially modified four man bobsleds fitted with wheels. The sleds run down the historic Olympic bobsled run from the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. This track was banked with hand laid stones and dirt berms originally and then upgraded with concrete later. This is the track used for the wheeled sleds and you get to experience four turns of once in a lifetime thrills in less than a minute for $70 or so.
The modern Olympic sliding events are so fast they needed a new modern track which is also at the sliding center and open for tours. When we visited Lake Placid this summer, our tour guide bused us up to the top of the modern track and let us walk down the hill via the track. In the winter, rides for tourist are done on this track and the distance is longer. Something like 10 turns. So you really get your money’s worth trying it in the winter.
As far as the full hearty soles who had the deep pockets and desire to take part in the runs, I thought it tended to be mostly the gray haired, retirees. Maybe they were the ones who best remembered the 1980s Olympics and had the cash to shell out for this “once in a lifetime” ride. I often heard the phrase “where else are you going to do this” – very true indeed.
All in all the Olympic sights around Lake Placid are very interesting to visit. You can buy a passport for $32 which combines all sorts of venues such as the Sky Jumping center, an auto road up Whiteface Mountain and a Gondola ride up Whiteface. Rather a good deal when you figure some gondola rides will cost you $20 just for that ride. All in all there is much too much to see and do in a single weekend so you are guaranteed to have to return some day.