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Lake Placid: Outdoor opportunities of Olympic proportions

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BY LISA DENSMORE

If you just got back from the 2012 OWAA conference at Chena Hot Springs Resort, you may be wondering how can anywhere top the outdoor action in Alaska? Or perhaps you skipped Alaska in anticipation of the 2013 OWAA conference, Sept. 14-16, in Lake Placid, N.Y.? Whatever the case, the next OWAA conference promises to be one of Olympic proportions. Lake Placid hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. The Olympic
village is a centerpiece of the Adirondack region of New York. It’s impossible to ignore the rich sports heritage of this resort town one of the U.S. Olympic training center sites and where numerous international competitions continue to be held each year.

The 2013 conference will take place in the newly built Lake Placid Convention Center connected to the Olympic arena complex.

Want to relive the Miracle on Ice in which the underdog American hockey team defeated in the Russian powerhouse? You can stand on the rink! Want to see where Eric Heiden earned his unprecedented five gold medals? The speed skating oval is just beyond the hockey rink. Want to peer down a 120-meter ski jump? Take a ride in a bobsled? Get a view from the top of Whiteface Mountain where the best ski racers in the world schussed downhill at 85 mile per hour? Welcome to Lake Placid!

Or perhaps Lake Placid is on your radar because it was the host city of ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games.

Next September will be prime time for warm-water fishing there, with most of the lakes hovering between 60 and 75 degrees, depending on the weather prior to the conference. Largemouth and smallmouth bass, pike, perch and pan fish are all plentiful in the plethora of lakes in the Lake Placid area. If you seek trout, a trophy section of the Ausable River flows between Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain. I fully expect a number of you will be unintentionally M.I.A. at conference functions simply because you got distracted fishing on Mirror Lake, the lake in middle of the village right outside your hotel room.

And that’s just a sampling of what awaits you in Lake Placid. There’s another 6 million acres of Adirondack playground, I mean park, surrounding the Olympic village where you can fish, hike, backpack, paddle and bird watch to your heart’s content. Last June, I met with the staff of the Lake Placid CVB to start planning a menu of pre- and post-conference trips. The list filled two pages of lined paper — more than 60 ideas! If you can’t glean a good time and a good story from a trip to Lake Placid alone, you should definitely go to a conference session or two to find out how.

In the next few issues of Outdoors Unlimited, I’ll give you as much information about Lake Placid as I can. I’ll also introduce you more fully to the Adirondack Forest Preserve and Park, which was the model for the 1964 National Wilderness Act.

Why me? While I live in Montana, my roots are in the Adirondacks. My great grandfather was one of the first settlers in the Lake Placid area, back in the late 1800s, and most of my family still lives there. I’ve been working and playing in the Adirondacks for my entire life and can’t wait to show you around.

Also, if you donated at least $850 to OWAA’s 85th anniversary fundraising campaign, you will be automatically put in a drawing for a personally designed pre- or post-conference adventure with yours truly and Jack Ballard as your guides.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about my hometown and the surrounding area, call or email me.♦

—A former OWAA board member and an award-winning television producer, writer and photographer, Lisa Densmore is local chair of the 2013 OWAA conference in Lake Placid, N.Y. http://www.DensmoreDesigns.com.

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