The 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games radiated brilliantly around the world as beacons of sporting excellence, and today the excitement of those colossal events still resonates. As the iconic centerpiece of the village of Lake Placid, the Olympic Center is a hub of year-round recreation, sport, tourism, and adventure for all. With the modernization projects completed at the end of 2022, Lake Placid is ushering in a whole new era with summer guests now discovering the region’s greatness in all new ways.
The Renewal of the Historic Ice Arenas
The 1980 Herb Brooks Arena and the 1932 Jack Shea Arena are two rinks steeped in a remarkable history each their own, and now, improvements are breathing new life into their use as modern sport and entertainment venues and elevating their efficiency, comfort, and aesthetic appeal. New scoreboards, seating, concessions, restrooms, locker rooms, refrigeration, HVAC systems, concourse areas, high-efficiency LED lighting, and 100% electric Zambonis are key improvements.
The James C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval – where the 1932 Opening Ceremonies were held, where the first gold medal in those games was won and awarded to local Lake Placid hero Jack Shea, and where Eric Heiden stunned the world in 1980 by winning five gold medals – is the recipient of similar rejuvenation projects. A new refrigeration system, an entirely new track base, an artfully landscaped entry plaza for ceremonies and spectators, updated flagpoles and the 1980 Parade of Nations, environmentally friendly LED lighting, a new hockey box, and a new facility for media, athletes, officials, and maintenance are all parts of bringing the oval to international standards and lifting it once again among the best outdoor speedskating facilities anywhere for training and competition. In fact, during the March 2022 World University Games speedskating races, improved track conditions laid the foundation for athletes to set an unprecedented ten new track records, including Heiden’s 5,000-meter record, set during the 1980 Olympics.
A Contemporary New Miracle Plaza
The new Miracle Plaza serves the purpose of connecting the two historic ice arenas while also offering beautifully designed spaces with fully re-designed and renovated attractions of its own.
The large main floor entrance facing the James C. Sheffield speed skating oval is home to the all-new Lake Placid Olympic Museum and the Miracle Moments retail store. Displayed in the grand foyer of this entry is one of the four original panels of the 1980 Miracle on Ice scoreboard, with the final score of that game forever illuminated. Upstairs on the mezzanine level, guests will find the absolute best view in town, built right into the new Roamers Café.
The Olympic Museum
The official chronicler of the region’s glory and keeper of its tangible vestiges, the all-new Lake Placid Olympic Museum now welcomes visitors inside the new Miracle Plaza entrance. The museum is now an immersive learning experience that’s as inspiring as it is informative.
Newly re-imagined spaces feature state-of-the-art interactive displays with 3D, experiential learning exhibits, engaging displays, athlete stories, never-before-seen film footage, and treasured artifacts. Hop into the bobsled simulation for a thrilling virtual ride down the most technical bobsled track in the world or look through the goggles of a ski jumper flying down the massive tower and taking off into the air. Both are unique and heart-pumping experiences.
A visit to the new museum is a tour through time. One that not only recounts Lake Placid’s rich winter sports history but also conveys the ideals of its legacy. The experience is one in which visitors will discover the boundless human spirit that is the driving force of Olympic champions. A spirit that lives in each of us.
Right next to the museum is a new retail store called Miracle Moments, offering souvenirs, keepsakes, memorabilia, and a fun chance for visitors to take home their own slice of history. One can add to their collection of Olympic pins, posters, or other keepsakes and also find hats, shirts, jackets, and more with venue logos.
Named for the New York Rangers’ ice hockey farm team that called Lake Placid home from 1946 to 1952, Roamers Café is an expansive new dining space with a sleek and contemporary vibe. Its casual and satisfying, internationally inspired menu comes with a special side order of eye-popping panoramic views of the Olympic Village and the Adirondack High Peaks. The totality of this unique dining experience just steps away from two historic rinks, is a delight for the palate, the eyes, and the heart.
No Better Time to Visit the Olympic Center
The improvements at the Olympic Center, together with other Olympic Authority venues, provide superior training and competition opportunities for athletes at all levels while also providing a wide range of recreation and leisure activities for everyone who visits. In this way, the Olympic Authority is diligently and responsibly maintaining its mission to create economic and social benefit.