13 Things to Do in Lake Placid in the Winter

Scenic View Of Snowcapped Mountains Against Sky
Douglas Klamm / EyeEm / Getty Images

Lake Placid is a resort town in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Best known as the host site of the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980, Lake Placid remains a tourist destination that epitomizes the rustic, outdoorsy appeal of the Adirondacks. It’s both a mountain town and a lake town, which affords myriad opportunities for outdoorsy types and active families to get outside and have fun all year round.

Located two hours and 15 minutes from Montreal, two hours and 30 minutes from Albany, and five hours and 15 minutes from New York City, Lake Placid is at its best in the winter. The Olympic spirit is still very much alive, and much of the fun of visiting in the winter is getting to play winter sports. Even if you only do several of these activities, you can likely save money by purchasing an Olympic Sites Passport, which grants access to attractions such as Whiteface, The Olympic Center, and the Olympic Jumping Complex.

Read on to discover the top things to do in Lake Placid in the winter.

01 of 13

Zoom Down the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute

Lake Placid Toboggan Chute

Courtesy of Lake Placid ADK

Address
31 Parkside Dr, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Phone +1 518-523-2591

You will love this classic winter fun activity. Lake Placid's 30-foot wooden trestle toboggan chute sends you zooming out across frozen Mirror Lake on an old-school toboggan. The Toboggan Chute typically opens up for the winter season sometime around the first weekend of February. Depending on weather conditions, toboggans can travel more than 1,000 feet once they reach the frozen lake surface. You and up to three other people are welcome to ride an unlimited number of rides per session; tickets are $15 per adult and $10 per student. Be sure to bring cash.

02 of 13

Bobsled on the Olympic Track

Lake Placid Bobsled Experience

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
31 Van Hoevenberg Way, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Phone +1 518-523-2811

Feel what it's like to ride a bobsled (with a professional driver and brakeman) as it thunders up to 50 miles per hour down an actual Olympic track. Located at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, the bobsledding track is over a half-mile long and is one of the only places in the world where you can try out the sport. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and you must be at least 9 years old and 52 inches tall to ride. Tickets are $125 a person, although a discount is available with the Olympic Sites Passport.

03 of 13

Go Dog Sledding

Dogsledding on frozen Mirror Lake

Courtesy of Whiteface

A winter dog sled ride around frozen Mirror Lake is a memorable and exhilarating experience. Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours and its team of Alaskan Huskies offer rides on a first-come, first-served basis Friday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; tickets cost $20 a person for a five-minute ride.

Also open on a first-come, first-served basis is Mike Arnold Dog Sled Rides, open Thursdays through Sundays. You can find it right in front of Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort; call 518-323-7622 to learn more. No matter which operator you go with, no need to worry about the ice—the drivers test it for safety before offering rides.

04 of 13

Go Ice Skating

Ice skating at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid

Courtesy of Whiteface

At the Olympic Center, you can go ice skating during public sessions at one of two indoor rinks or the famous outdoor oval where Eric Heiden raced to win five gold medals in 1980. Tickets start at $10 a person; rentals are available on-site for an additional $10.

Skating on Mirror Lake is also an option. Each winter, a 2-mile track around the lake's entire perimeter is plowed, and you can access it for free every day of the week.

Continue to 5 of 13 below.
05 of 13

Ski Whiteface Mountain

Ski Slope
eyedias / Getty Images
Address
5021 NY-86, Wilmington, NY 12997, USA
Phone +1 518-946-2223

With the highest vertical drop in the Northeast, Whiteface is one of New York's top ski resorts. Located among the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, Whiteface was the site of all alpine skiing events in the 1980 Winter Olympics, and to this day operates as a U.S. Olympic Training Site. Ski and snowboard lessons and rentals are available for both adults and kids. Snag a season pass if you're a frequent skier, or buy a lift ticket for day trips and short getaways (one- to five-day tickets are available). Be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance, as walk-up tickets do sell out and are also not offered during the holidays.

06 of 13

Try Skeleton Sledding

Lake Placid Skeleton Experience

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
31 Vah Hoevenberg Way, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Phone +1 518-523-2811

Do you love an adrenaline rush? At the Lake Placid Olympic Sports Complex, you can try the sport of skeleton and rocket 30 miles per hour, head first, down an icy chute. Believe it or not, you need no prior experience to do this. An actual USA Skeleton Team coach/trainer will be present to help you get situated at the start and to offer a few tips for the ride. It costs $75 per ride, and you must be at least 48 inches tall and 13 years old to slide (teens under 18 must be accompanied by an adult).

07 of 13

Be A Biathlete

Get biathlon training in Lake Placid

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
31 Vah Hoevenberg Way, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Phone +1 518-523-2811

A combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, the biathlon is yet another sport you can try out at the Lake Placid Olympic Sports Complex. The Discover Biathlon package includes a one-day trail pass and rental equipment, an hour-long ski lesson, professional instruction at the rifle range, and a video intro to this demanding sport. Tickets cost $65; the package is only available to those 13 and up.

08 of 13

Admire Wintry Scenes from the Cloudsplitter Gondola at Whiteface

The Cloudsplitter Gondola delivers spectacular vistas across the Adirondacks.

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
5021 NY-86, Wilmington, NY 12997, USA
Phone +1 518-946-2223

Whether or not you ski, it's worth taking the scenic gondola ride from the base at Whiteface Mountain to the summit of Little Whiteface, where you'll be treated to far-reaching views across the snow-frosted Adirondacks. A lodge and an observation deck await up top, where you'll enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Placid, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondack Mountains. To ride, it costs $19-$25 (it's free for kids 6 and under). Rides are not available during certain holiday periods; before you go, check the website for the most up-to-date information on weather conditions.

Continue to 9 of 13 below.
09 of 13

Crunch Along on Snowshoes

Snowshoeing in Lake Placid

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
31 Vah Hoevenberg Way, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Phone +1 518-523-2811

Snowshoeing is a blood-pumping activity the whole family can enjoy. If you can walk, you can snowshoe! At the Olympic Sports Complex, you can rent snowshoes and explore 34 miles (50 kilometers) of trails around Mt. Van Hoevenberg, including three devoted solely to snowshoers. If this is your first time, consider booking a guided snowshoe tour, which comes with a trail pass, rental pair, water, and a snack. Tours run from two to four hours and cost $55 a person.

10 of 13

Enjoy Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing in Lake Placid

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
220 Bobsled Run Ln, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Phone +1 518-523-2811

The Olympic Sports Complex also offers 34 miles (55 kilometers) of groomed trails for cross-country skiing, with the likes of Olympic gold medalist Bill Demong cutting his teeth here. It costs $32 per adult day pass, with daily rentals on offer for $25. Private and group lessons are also available. Trails are open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the winter months.

11 of 13

Tour the Olympic Jumping Complex

Lake Placid's Olympic Jumping Complex

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
5486 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Phone +1 518-302-5919

If you've ever wondered what it feels like to look down the ramp of an Olympic ski jump, you can take the glass-enclosed elevator to the observation deck of Lake Placid's HS-128 meter jump. At the top, you can enter the ski jumpers' preparation room and take in a panoramic view of the Adirondack High Peaks. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., it costs $20 per adult ticket; discounts may apply.

To experience the wonder of flying from the top of the ski jump tower yourself, hop on the four-person zipline (adjacent to the 100-meter ski jump), which will have you soaring up to 30 miles per hour.

12 of 13

Visit the Olympic Center

Lake Placid Olympic Center

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
2634 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Phone +1 518-523-1655
4.2

Located right on Lake Placid's Main Street, the Olympic Center was the site of some of the most memorable moments of the 1980 Winter Olympics, including the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game and Eric Heiden's five gold medal wins. You can participate in a guided tour of the complex. After your visit, hit up the Olympic Center Store, where you will find USA Hockey jerseys and other winter sports clothing like jackets and hats.

Continue to 13 of 13 below.
13 of 13

Appreciate Great Moments at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum

Lake Placid Olympic Museum

Courtesy of Whiteface

Address
2634 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946-3648, USA
Phone +1 518-523-1655

Located right on Main Street in Lake Placid at the Olympic Center, the Lake Placid Olympic Museum highlights the rich history of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games.

Editor's note: The museum is currently undergoing renovation and is expected to be completed in late 2022; for now, you can check out the museum's virtual exhibits online, which cover everything from Olympic fashion to the visual design of the 1980 games.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What should I pack for Lake Placid in the winter?

    The average high temperatures in Lake Placid are usually in the mid-20s to low-30s. You'll want to pack a warm winter coat, waterproof snow boots, thermal underwear, a hat, and wool or fleece gloves. For winter sports enthusiasts, you'll also need to pack the necessary gear if you're not planning to rent (skis, snowboard, ice skates, snowshoes, etc.)

  • Does Mirror Lake freeze in the winter?

    Yes, Mirror Lake does freeze over, making it a perfect destination for dog sledding and ice skating.

  • How long is the walk around Mirror Lake?

    It's a 2.7-mile walk around Mirror Lake.

Back to List

13 Things to Do in Lake Placid in the Winter