When you visit Lake Placid, you’re walking in the footsteps of Olympic legends. Lake Placid is the only city in the U.S. to host two Winter Olympics, and you can experience the gravity of the town’s sporting history when you visit. 

The team at Whiteface Lodge is here to help you get the most out of your trip to Lake Placid. Not only do we offer upscale accommodations at our Lake Placid resort, but we’re also happy to lend our local expertise so you can maximize your vacation. We’ve put together a guide on exploring Lake Placid’s rich Olympic history so you can go for gold with a vacation experience unlike any other.

A Brief History of the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid

Lake Placid first hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932, the third ever and first in the U.S. Notably, the 1932 event was the first of the Winter Games to use a podium for medalists. Lake Placid local Jack Shea, a speed skater, took home two gold medals, the first athlete to win gold twice in the same Olympic Games. 

Nearly 50 years later, the Winter Olympics returned to Lake Placid in 1980. While 17 nations participated in the 1932 Winter Olympics, that number more than doubled in 1980, with 37 nations participating. For the 1980 Winter Olympics, snow machines were utilized for the first time during the Games. Perhaps most famously., the 1980 Games are notable for the Miracle on Ice, when the U.S. hockey team beat the heavily favored Soviets for the gold medal. The 1980 Games were the last time the Olympics were hosted in a city of under 15,000, but who knows, maybe the Olympics will one day return to this historic site.

Exploring the History of the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid

Today, there are tons of ways to enjoy the rich history of the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. The all-new Lake Placid Olympic Museum, located at Olympic Center, is a great place to start. Opened in December 2022, this museum features interactive exhibits, riveting displays, and the second-largest collection of Winter Olympics artifacts in North America.

The Winter Olympic Center is also home to several venues used in the games. These venues include the 1932 Jack Shea Arena and the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena, both of which are occasionally open for skating. Skating where past legends have found glory is a truly spectacular experience and something you’ll remember forever.

The Olympic Jumping Complex is another worthwhile site for sports fans and history buffs alike. Here, you can watch as ski jumpers and aerialists impressively soar through the air. Ride the zipline to get a feel for these thrilling events; it can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour. There’s also the new Skyride, a gondola that provides fun transportation to the ski jumping towers. A glass elevator provides scenic views of the Adirondack Mountains, and you’ll have 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Placid at the top. 

Lake Placid Lodging near Olympic Sites

Accommodations at Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid

You can stay near all of Lake Placid’s Olympic venues and exhibits when you book accommodations at Whiteface Lodge. Our Adirondack resort is about a five-minute drive from the Olympic Center, making us a prime destination for visitors wanting to explore all of the Olympic History Lake Placid has to offer. Plus, we offer on-site dining, activities for the whole family, a highly-rated spa, and more. 

We would love to host your next getaway to Lake Placid. To stay at our lodge in Lake Placid, please book online or call 518-523-0505 to speak with a reservationist.