Press-Republican

February 12, 2014

Governor brings Adirondack Winter Challenge to Lake Placid

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — LAKE PLACID — Area officials have been called by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a Winter Challenge here.

They may not claim titles as “Olympic hopefuls,” but lawmakers and civic leaders will hang up the ties, shiny shoes and starched shirts for skis, skates, sleds and curling footwear. 

They are looking for some of Lake Placid’s “white gold” with Olympic-level fun on the snow and ice.

Billed as a Celebration of Winter Tourism, teams of state leaders from Albany will drive up in the morning Thursday and spend a few hours trying different winter sports in and around Lake Placid.

WEATHER MAY BE FACTOR

Cuomo’s press corps has not said yet if the event would be postponed should a coastal snowstorm in the forecast blast through the region.

But local county teams are ready and set to compete. And they plan to win.

A series of fun races between county and state political players are planned at Mount Van Hoevenberg’s bobsled complex and Nordic Ski Center, at Whiteface Ski Resort and at Olympic Center ice rinks in hockey, curling and skating.

‘WILL NOT BE DEFEATED’

Randy Douglas, chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, told the Press-Republican they have bobsled bragging rights.

“We put together a creative bobsled team. We’ve challenged Clinton and Franklin county, too. We feel we can outperform them,” he said on Tuesday, cracking a laugh.

“We challenged Billy Jones (Franklin County legislative chairman) and Sam Dyer (Clinton County legislative chairman) to see if they can beat us on our home course in Lake Placid.

“And the governor is going to be in our backyard and on our turf, challenging us in our home venues, and we’re not going down. We will not be defeated by Gov. Cuomo.”

Essex County’s official “unofficial” bobsled team, which will have a professional driver, includes Douglas, Sheriff Richard Cutting, District Attorney Kristy Sprague, Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee and Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston.

AWARDS CEREMONY

The governor is encouraging “competitors” from Albany to stop in for a tour of the Olympic Museum to see the region’s rich Olympic heritage.

This is, after all, New York’s Olympic training area, with 13 local athletes competing in Sochi.

Local Olympians likely closed their locker doors here without knowing their sports tracks and rinks would be overtaken for a time by state leaders.

The Winter Challenge ends with an awards ceremony at the Olympic Center.

Events are not open for the public to compete, but guests in Lake Placid may catch pieces of the action as various state and local officials travel from one Olympic venue to another.

Email Kim Smith Dedam:kdedam@pressrepublican.com