“Excelsior” is the one-word motto in Latin for New York State, meaning “Ever Upward.” For two and a half centuries, it has described this state’s continuous striving toward excellence and our confidence in a strong, bright, and ever better future.

In a truly great fit with that motto, Lake Placid has been moving “ever upward” in winter sports for more than 100 years. Today, in fact, after a once-in-a-generation series of revitalization projects that have lifted its Olympic venues to among the world’s best, there are more opportunities than ever in history for athlete development, major events, and a multitude of intangible rewards.

Students and teachers pose outside the Mountain Pass Lodge at Mt Van Hoevenberg during the December 8 and 9, 2023 FIL World Cup Luge competition at Mt Van Hoevenberg.
Students and teachers pose outside the Mountain Pass Lodge at Mt Van Hoevenberg during the December 8 and 9, 2023 FIL World Cup Luge competition at Mt Van Hoevenberg.

Vast numbers of people from around the area and around the world are now benefitting from Lake Placid’s remarkable Olympic legacy and our renewed Olympic venues. After surpassing a million visitors last year, expanding partnerships and programs, and hosting several extraordinary international competitions, this two-time Winter Olympic Games host is perfectly positioned as the epicenter of opportunity.

Nine students from Northwood School stand together directly adjacent a big turn in the sliding track at Mt Van Hoevenberg with the Lake Placid logo behind them.
Students from Northwood School engaged in learning at the 2023 EBERSPÄCHER FIL World Cup Luge competition.

The Olympic Authority, in fact, has served the development of millions of athletes with decades of programming that includes events, training opportunities, partnerships, and collaborations. From children’s first exposure to many sports to elite level coaching and training, the Olympic Authority is inspiring new generations of athletic excellence.

Students and teachers from area schools standing adjacent a big curve in the combined track at the FIL World Cup Luge event at Mt Van Hoevenberg.
Area students getting close up to the track, the athletes, and FIL World Cup Luge action.

Just this weekend at the EBERSPÄCHER FIL World Cup Luge competition, staff facilitated new experiences and teachable moments for educators and students from several area schools at all levels. Saranac Lake, Warrensburg, St. Agnes, and Northwood School all came to see the competition, learn about luge, see, and even meet world class athletes from countries around the globe. Some of the younger kids even made flags of various countries to cheer on competitors while teachers from Northwood School leveraged the opportunity to provide their students unique experiential lessons on world geography, science, engineering, and math. A total of nearly 200 students in all came as part of field trips facilitated by the Olympic Authority’s Lake Placid Legacy Adventures Team.

For many, the exposure to the sports and venues leads to greater interest. For some, it leads to life-long engagement with a few of the strongest athletes rising to the same world class level of athleticism.

A four year old girl standing outside Mt Van Hoevenberg, wearing a world cup jersey and motioning with her hand.
Four-year-old Zoe from Saranac Lake stands outside the lodge at Mt Van Hoevenberg in her World Cup Luge singlet, given to her after the competition by an athlete from Team Italy.

For those higher levels of athletes, the Olympic Authority has a strong, enduring relationship with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Center (USOPC) to manage the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center (USOPTC) in Lake Placid, one of only two such centers in the country. With facilities directly adjacent our headquarters, more than 2,500 athletes were supported with lodging and training and competition services in 2022-23. Overall, Olympic Authority venues supported world class training and competition opportunities for more than 95,000 winter sport athletes just this past year.

As the epicenter of so much opportunity and the home of such an enduring Olympic legacy, it’s no surprise the people of Lake Placid and the surrounding area evoke the essence of the Olympic spirit. Whether hosting, spectating, recreating, competing, or volunteering, Lake Placid’s passion for sport runs deep. The dedication to community and its legacy is a way of life here, and for the athletes who come to train and compete, it’s something they can feel in the actions and attitudes of local residents. Ever-expanding economic impacts, a growing array of sport and recreation alternatives, expert teams, coaching, programming, and countless opportunities to lean and grow and try new things are some of the visible and invisible benefits available to us an individuals and communities.

As a result of so many decades of sport in our community, international athletes, families, and guests are a natural part of the fabric of the Lake Placid Olympic Region. And as we continue to move ever upward together, the community is enthusiastic about welcoming the athletes from all over the world for decades to come.