Lake Placid Nordic Center History

Cross-Country Skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenberg dates back to 1966. In planning for a second winter Olympics, Ron MacKenzie and J. Vernon Lamb Jr. created the first trails around that time. The first 15km of trails were used for the 1969 Kennedy Games, a streamlined version of the Olympic Games. Three hundred athletes from 18 countries came to Lake Placid to compete in a variety of disciplines, including cross-country skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Lake Placid was also the host on the 8th World Winter Games for the deaf in 1975, with the cross-country events happening at Mt. Van Hoevenberg.

After Lake Placid was awarded the 1980 Winter Olympic Games the Olympic race loops, biathlon range and stadiums began. The chief of course at Mt. Van Hoevenberg during this time, Chummy Broomhall, oversaw the improvement of existing trails and laid out 40km of new trail. All of the new trails were designed by Chummy and Al Merril. The NY DEC employees as well as the Ray Brook correctional facilities were vital in making of the new trails. The new Cross-Country Olympic Venue help pre-Olympic test events in the winter of 1979.

The 1980 Winter Olympics, while cold, was the worst for snowfall in some time. Organizers had to stockpile manmade snow, move and cover 25km of trails with 10 inches of snow. Most of the snow was made onsite, but snow was trucked in from the Ski Jumping Complex as well as Whiteface Mountain.

Following the Olympic, Mt. Van Hoevenberg, along with the rest of the Olympic Venues came under the care of the newly formed Olympic Regional Development Authority. ORDA has seen a multitude of top-level competitions since becoming the stewards of Mt. Van Hoevenberg. From National Championships, World Cup races and Olympic Trails, Mt. Van Hoevenberg continued to be a competitive venue.

-Source: NY Ski Blog, Article: The History of Mount Van Hoevenberg, Author: Peter Minde-