Press-Republican

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December 21, 2010

Empire State Games off to strong start

$70K already gathered by Adirondack communities

LAKE PLACID — The Games On attitude is spreading through the northern Adirondacks.

With a decision to host the Empire State Winter Games expressly for New York state's youth, Lake Placid and its team of can-do keepers has earned support from both Essex County and the Village of Saranac Lake.

Collaboration is set to keep the long-standing competition alive.

And in fact, talk has already begun about expanding the event in 2012.

Strong start

When budget constraints pushed the state to eliminate funds that kept Empire State Games running for 30 years, the Village of Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and the towns of North Elba and Wilmington stepped up to the gate.

It seems they've pushed off with a strong start.

So far, the partnership of Adirondack communities has generated nearly $70,000 in seed money, including registration fees, toward the event that last year had a budget of $150,000.

working together

Adding venues, a snowshoeing competition will take place this year at Mount Pisgah in Saranac Lake, just a few weeks after their 114th Winter Carnival.

"We're all in this together," Mayor Clyde Rabideau said of the village's decision to pitch in with its village-run ski, inner tube and recreation center.

"Lake Placid is eight miles away, and Saranac Lake sees the Empire State Games as an opportunity to work with our neighbors."

Wilmington, home to Whiteface Mountain, will host the alpine ski events as it has for many years.

Ice skating, hockey and other ski and ice events will be held in Lake Placid.

The can-do attitude is something the North Country knows a lot about, Rabideau said.

"It's what's called 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' — you don't need Big Brother or Albany or the government to do this. In fact, you can do almost anything you want as long as you work together."

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