Most northern tourist towns close up shop when the snow begins to fall, but that is when Lake Placid really comes alive. Steeped in winter Olympic tradition (the little alpine village has hosted not one, but two winter Olympic games – one in 1932, the other in 1980), the best athletes in the US and Canada flock to the area for competitions for everything from Nordic skiing to hockey to dogsled racing, making this one of the best place for active winter pursuits.
Those who have heard of forest bathing – the therapeutic pastime of immersing yourself in the sights, smells, and sounds of nature through a walk in the woods – often associate the act as something limited to the warmer seasons. But according to Helene Gibbens, co-owner of Adirondack Riverwalking, a Lake Placid-based guiding service that leads sensory-immersion excursions into the wilds of the Adirondacks, winter is one of the best times for the practice for the serene hush and quiet. Which is why, across the month of February, she offers regular wintertime forest bathing sessions on snowshoes departing from The Wild Center, an acclaimed nature preserve and museum located 25 miles west of Lake Placid in Tupper Lake. The two-hour tours take place on the trails surrounding the center; registration is required.
ENDLESS ACTIVITIES FORTHE WINTER ADVENTURER
Local Dining Options
Area favorite R.F.McDougalls has a constantly rotating selection of beers. This time of year, however, expect to see some of the classic local selections. They offer weekly and daily food specials as well as special events throughout the season.
On the same property, the Hungry Trout Restaurant serves fine dingin fare rivaling anywhere in the northeast. Known for their trout dishes, they also offer a variety of wonderful wild game themed options and feature some of the best views that you can find anywhere.
Race Across Mirror Lake
Once Mirror Lake, the tranquil body of water that the town of Lake Placid centers around, freezes over, thrill-seekers of all ages can take advantage of a unique sliding experience: The Lake Placid Toboggan Chute. After pulling an old-fashioned sled up a 30-foot-high converted ski jump trestle, you’ll tuck your feet for a front-row seat to whiz more than 1,000 feet, skittering across the frozen surface of Mirror Lake. Open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the lines for this only $10 experience can often be long, so plan to go during the 4 to 7 p.m. window on Friday for the shortest wait.
Spot an Unexpected Visitor
With the arctic chills blasting the US’s northern states, 2022 is promising to be a great year for spotting the illusive snowy owl. The giant predator, rarely seen in the lower 48, has flocked to area in historic and unprecedented numbers creating mayhem at airports and delighting Harry Potter fans. One such place they’ve been spotted locally: The Craig Wood Golf Course, reminiscent of their home in the arctic tundra. Take a causal cross-country ski climb (either at daybreak or dusk when they are more likely to be active) up River Road to Craig Wood Golf Course and keep your eyes peeled as you descend into Cascade Ski Center’s groomed Nordic trails.