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GUEST COMMENTARY: Empire State Winter Games a regionwide effort

February 18, 2016
By TAIT WARDLAW - Empire State Winter Games Organizing Committee , Lake Placid News

Our region came together over the last six weeks. The Empire State Winter Games organizing committee's ambitious goal to expand the scope and scale of the event this year was met with energetic support from many communities, organizations and individuals in the region.

The 36th Games welcomed a record number of athletes. In addition to classic winter sports competition, this year's event showcased new, contemporary action sports held at new venues. The region has come together to make this the largest annual multi-sport event in North America, and the positive impact from participants and their families is now shared across the North Country, from Wilmington to Malone.

In addition to the coalition that has supported the Games since the region took them over in 2011, I'd like to specifically thank some individuals and organizations who went above and beyond to ensure that these games were a success.

Special thanks to the leadership and staff at the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority, who supported not only the great events at Whiteface, they also displayed the flexibility to move the nordic events to the ski jump facility at the last minute. In addition, ORDA also supported Mount Pisgah with the loan of snow grooming equipment and staff assistance to ready their slopes for the snow bike events, and advised Titus Mountain staff as they created the region's biggest slopestyle course ever.

There are many individuals who have gone above and beyond to support this regional event, and I'd like to extend my personal thanks to (in no particular order):

All of the athletes

Ted Blazer, Denny Allen, Jeff Potter, Jeff Byrne, Katie Million, Josh Wagoner, Aaron Kellett, Jenna Lute and Rebecca Dayton at ORDA

Sue Cameron, Jasen Lawrence, Dan Cash, Kristin Strack, Kerry Blinn and the rest of the ROOST staff

Mayor Clyde Rabideau, John Sweeney and Kareen Tyler from the village of Saranac Lake

Village of Saranac Lake

Village of Tupper Lake

Village of Lake Placid

Village of Malone

Town of North Elba

Town of Harrietstown

Town of Tupper Lake

Town of Wilmington

Town of Malone

Paul Smith's College

Mount Pisgah Ski Center

Bruce Monette, Christopher Monette, Brian Monette, Steve Forbes, Brittany Taylor and Zach White at Titus Mountain Family Ski Center

Jay Rand, John Norton, Mike Kirchner, Chris Grant, Dave McCahill and Beatty Schleuter at the New York Ski Educational Foundation

Eric Granger

Brian McDonnell

Larry Barney

State of New York

Amy Potter from Stewart's Shops

Mark Tryniski at Community Bank

Jerry Jones at IBC

Amanda Carlo at Cape Air

The Smiths at Hotel North Woods

Sport Directors Jay Rand, Jean Brennan, Patrick Standen, Dirk Gouwans, Carl Klossner, Don Hass, Larry Wilkinson, Mary Elizabeth Wightman, Beverly Detwiler, Evan Bliss, Janet Bliss, Chris Freilinghaus, Jim Tucker, Tom Huber, Tom Miller, Larry Barney and Butch Martin

and the multitude of volunteers who made the games possible



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