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"1980 Winter Olympics - Lake Placid" Lake Placid Travelogue by CdnJane

Lake Placid Travel Guide: 115 reviews and 356 photos

The Students start off.... the story begins...

In 1980 I was a student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Lake Placid was a "mere" 4 - 4 1/2 hr drive away. One of my friends convinced me that we would be crazy to miss the opportunity to go to the games when they were so close.
So, we sent away for tickets, and were able to purchase tickets for the the Pairs Short Program in Figure Skating, and the last training run of the Women's Downhill Skiing.
After receiving our event tickets, my friend, Ruth, and I checked out the prices for accomodation - YIKES!!!! If we could get any they would be way out of the the price range of a couple of university students. We decided that we would sleep in her car. We had heavy duty sleeping bags, brought extra blankets, and made up lots of sandwiches and had some cans of soup to heat on her little cooking stove. We were set.
Oh yes, just before leaving we had to do some minor surgery to the car's side mirror - which involved duct tape, string and tinfoil, I believe. Did I mention that the car's name was "Pea Soup", as that was the colour of it!
We scheduled our departure so that we could watch the Canadians in the Men's Downhill Ski race, see where they were positioned, and then make it in time for the Awards Ceremony on Mirror Lake. Our departure took place as soon as we were assured that Steve Podborski would be getting at least the bronze medal for Canada.
Timing was perfect, we got down to Lake Placid, or at least to the parking lot which would be our home for the next 2 nights, and then the shuttle bus into Lake Placid, just as the ceremonies were about to begin.

We saw Steve Podborski get his medal, and we had somehow managed to get separated. We had prepared for that and arranged to meet later for a hot chocolate.
As I was walking up to the street, I saw one of the other "Crazy Canucks" (the Men's Downhill team), Dave Irwin. Dave had been my crush for several years, and I was thrilled to meet him and speak with him. (The picture I took didn't turn out because it was too dark, and I was shaking too much... oh well, I still have the memory and an Olympic pin he gave me.)
I went on, floating on Cloud 9, to meet my friend Ruth, only saying - "I met him!" Sigh! Anyway... we had a hot toddy or so, and while we were in the bar a man asked us if we wanted to buy 2 tickets for the Bobsled run the next day. We had a little confab about it - and decided that we might never have another chance to see Olympic Bobsledding, so we bought them

We returned to our car... found a nice spot in the corner of the parking lot and settled in for the night.
We were woken early the next morning by the snow plow, cleaning up the lot. They had no problem with us sleeping there, but we did have to temporarily move the car so they could clean up the lot fully.
We had breakfast of chopped meat sandwiches (that had to get defrosted), and semi-burnt soup - pea soup of course.
We then got on our gear and headed to Mt Van Hoevenberg for the bobsled race. We returned to our car... found a nice spot in the corner of the parking lot and settled in for the night.

When I agreed to buy the tickets, I wasn't too thrilled about the sport. I mean... watching a group of men whip down the hill on a sleigh???? But, as you start watching them, you can start to hear the sounds of their runners on the ice, and get a sense of how well they are running. There were interval time clocks around too, so you could check that. It really was quite exciting.

We were of course cheering for the Canadians, although it didn't do us a lot of good. But we had fun, and we weren't stuck having to stay in any one place... we walked up and down the the side to see the bobsleds in different areas of the course.
One of the things that amazed me was how close to the side of the track we were standing. I was wearing a hat with a huge pompom on it, and had to hold onto it with one hand as I leaned to take a picture. I had a vivid image going through my head of "Canadian girl derails bobsled team with pompom"!

What Races Down Must Go Back Up!

Ever wonder how they get the sleds back up to the top... this big cart takes the drivers and the sleds up the hill.

Olympic uhhhhh Characters But what are they?????

What are the Olympic Games without Characters - and these were a pair of them for Lake Placid. I have no idea what they were meant to be.

Speed Skater Cooling Down

Near the Olympic stadium was the outdoor track for the speed skating. There was nobody telling us we couldn't watch them skaters practice. This was the year of Eric Heyden (spelling?), but I don't believe this skater is him. Someone said he had been around earlier.

When I find some more of my pictures I'll set up another travellogue for more of the Olympics.

  • Page Updated May 9, 2016
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