The winter sports center of Lake Placid, twice the proud host of the Winter Olympics, lies thirty miles west of I-87 on Hwy-73. In winter there's thrilling alpine skiing at imposing Whiteface Mountain and all manner of Nordic disciplines at Mount Van Hoevenberg; in summer you can watch luge athletes practice on refrigerated runs, freestyle skiers somersaulting off dry slopes into swimming pools, and top amateur ice hockey games. The mountain slopes also provide challenging terrain for hikers and cyclists; good mountain bikes, maps of local trails, and guided tours are available from High Peaks Cyclery, 2733 Main St (Tel:518/523-3764). The Olympic Summer Passport (June– Oct; $25; Tel:518/523-1655, Web: www.orda.org ) allows you on the chair lift to the top of the 393ft ski jump and eight miles up the sheer Whiteface Mountain toll road and back again, on the Whiteface gondola, and into the Olympic museum. A similar winter passport is also available. At the Olympic Sports Complex on Mount Van Hoevenburg (Tel:518/523-4436), you can do a blood-curdling bobsled run ($65) or bike the extensive trail network ($25 bike rental; $6 trail fee).
The town itself is set on two lakes: Mirror Lake, which you can sail on in summer and skate on in winter, and larger Lake Placid, just to the west, on which you can take a narrated cruise in summer ($11; Tel:518/523-9704). Other attractions include the Olympic Center on Main Street, which houses four ice rinks and the informative 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum (self-guided audio tour $5; Tel:518/523-1655).