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With spring comes new opportunity in the Adirondacks

March 10, 2016
Editorial , Lake Placid News

Typically in the Adirondacks, our winter months are filled with winter weather, sprinkled here and there with a spring-like thaw or two. This year, we didn't have a typical winter, as our winter months were filled with spring weather, sprinkled here and there with a winter-like freeze or two.

Yet, like typical Adirondackers, we roll with the punches. We make the best out of a bad situation. We turn lemons into lemonade.

In December, that meant renting out boats on Mirror Lake and re-installing two tennis nets at the beach park for residents and visitors to enjoy during the warm-weather spell just before Christmas. It meant a variety of community organizations coming together to create a new unified Holiday Village Stroll program for visitors while one key ingredient for holiday cheer - snow - was almost non-existent.

Article Photos

On March 3, the state Olympic Regional Development Authority announced that Whiteface Mountain Ski Center snowmaking crews had placed guns on the Excelsior, Victoria, Summit Express, Upper Valley, Lower Valley, Fox and Mixing Bowl trails. “We want to ensure that we have the best skiing and riding possible as long as we can,” said Whiteface General Manager Aaron Kellett. “Our goal is to lengthen the season for our customers and guests as long as we can.” The snow guns shown above are on the lower section of the Fox Trail.
(Photo courtesy of New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority)

It meant that state Olympic Regional Development Authority crews at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center took every opportunity to make snow, creating a base in preparation for the warm weather. And that ORDA crews at the Olympic Jumping Complex made snow at their cross-country ski trails, giving Mount Van Hoevenberg patrons a place to ski while the snowless center was closed, and saving key events such as the Empire State Winter Games and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association's nordic championships. The man-made snow, no doubt, saved the tourism industry this winter.

We are not naive enough to think that this week's rain and warm weather means that winter is totally gone. Historically, some of our biggest snowfalls have occurred in March and April, even May. Yet people have spring fever, and it's time to make the most of that.

With migratory birds starting to move through the Adirondacks, maple syrup producers beginning their season, and Lake Placid students on spring break for the next two weeks, spring is in the air. Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday. St. Patrick's Day is next week, followed by the vernal equinox at 12:30 a.m. March 20. Easter is in two weeks, March 27. And the New York Mets play their home opener at Citi Field in four weeks, on April 8. The Yankees' home opener is April 4.

It seems our spring schedule is beginning to fill up quickly.

Don't forget to say good-bye to the ice on Mirror Lake and Lake Placid by supporting the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service and buying tickets to the LPVAS annual Ice-Out Benefit. Due to the unusually warm winter, it is expected that the ice will go out sooner this year. Tickets are $5 each and are available around town, including the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau, North Elba Town Hall, LPVAS station at 388 Mill Pond Drive or from any ambulance member.

Each Ice-Out Benefit ticket gives one a chance to estimate the time and date the ice will break out of Mirror Lake and Lake Placid. Ice meisters will be using criteria used for the past 50 years. There will be five winners per lake, and all proceeds will be put toward final funding of an electronic stair chair lift. The ticket deadline is April 1.

Speaking of ice, while the refrigerated sliding track at Mount Van Hoevenberg continues to be used for training and other events this spring, USA Luge is holding a one-of-a-kind fundraiser on the ice Friday, March 25 called the first-ever Running of the Balls. People "buy" lacrosse balls for $10 each or three balls for $25. Similar to the Lake Placid Rotary Club's Dam Duck Race on the Chubb River, the fastest balls down the sliding track will win. There will be cash prizes for the top five balls, plus the last-place ball. The Running of the Balls will be covered live at 5 p.m. on and on WSLP 93.3-FM. Tickets are for sale on the USA Luge website.

While we admit to having spring fever - and feel a little guilty about it since this was one of the worst winters for many local businesses - we take comfort in knowing that there is still some spring skiing at Whiteface Mountain, where crews fired up their snow guns again last week in an attempt to extend the season. It's Springfest at the ski center, and special events are planned every weekend until the end of the season, Sunday, April 3, when the pond-skimming and beach party are expected to be held.

Can the snow hold out that long? Only Mother Nature knows. We do know, however, that whatever happens with the weather, our businesses and venue operators will continue to make the best of a bad situation.



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