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Construction work starts at Lake Placid’s Olympic ski-jump complex

By Adam Rombel


Nearly $9.3 million in projects are underway

PHOTO CREDIT: ORDA/Whiteface Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID — Construction contracts have been awarded and crews have started work on more than $9.3 million in renovation and construction projects at Lake Placid’s Olympic ski-jumping complex. 

The renovation and construction projects began this spring and are expected to be complete this fall. They are part of the preparation for the recently awarded 2023 Winter World University Games, to be held in Lake Placid.

The projects include a new frost rail and gate system for both the 90-meter and 120-meter ski jumps, according to the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA). Frost rails are designed to maintain a consistent and reliable jumping surface, the organization said. Crews are also installing additional underground infrastructure, along with a new design for the outrun landing hills. By re-grading the landing hills, the venue will not require as much snow to achieve the desired profile, the ORDA contends.

The project to install the frost rails and gates will cost nearly $1.25 million, Jon Lundin, ORDA director of communications, tells CNYBJ in an email.

Construction crews are also removing the current chairlift and transport system, making way for a new eight-person, “state-of-the-art” gondola. Once completed, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-compliant gondola will carry athletes, coaches, officials, equipment, and visitors from the Olympic jumping complex’s base lodge to the base of the 90-meter and 120-meter ski-jump towers. It will also take guests to the new zipline launch deck. 

From there, they will have access to the tower’s newly renovated glass enclosed elevator. This elevator will offer “breathtaking panoramic views” of the Adirondack High Peaks and surrounding area, according to the ORDA.

The gondola-installation part of the project will cost more than $3 million, Lundin says. The price tag for the elevator improvements will total nearly $1.1 million.

The zipline park, which will cost nearly $3 million to install, is designed for all levels of adventurers to simulate what the Olympic ski jumper would experience in competition, according to the ORDA. The most “extreme” of the four courses is expected to reach speeds of 60 miles-per-hour, have a 30-degree decline, and navigate its way along the ski jumps. 

Crews have also started replacing the curtain wall and window for the 120-meter ski jump tower, which will cost more than $1.3 million, according to Lundin.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $70 million appropriation for the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority for capital improvements is funding the construction ad renovation projects at the Olympic jumping complex.

“The projects modernize the facility and improve our ability to host events and training for athletes. The venue’s guests will enjoy the new gondola, glass enclosed elevator and zip lines too,” ORDA president and CEO Mike Pratt said in a news release.

With last year’s completed renovations to the base lodge, which cost $1.9 million, the ORDA has seen a nearly 30 percent increase in both visitation and revenue, according to Lundin. 

While ORDA manages the overall project, the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group, a manufacturing company based in Austria, was awarded the contract to produce and install the gondola and transport system. 

Terra-Nova, LLC — of Coalville, Utah — is designing and installing the zipline course, along with all its features.

Friend Commercial Contracting Corp., based in nearby Malone, is overseeing the elevator upgrades, as well as the elevator tower’s curtain wall and window replacement.

Established in 1982, the Olympic Regional Development Authority was created by the New York State to manage the facilities used during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games at Lake Placid. ORDA operates the Whiteface, Belleayre, and Gore Mountain ski areas; the Olympic sports complex at Mt. Van Hoevenberg; the Olympic speed skating oval; Olympic jumping complex; and Lake Placid Olympic Center, which includes the Herb Brooks Arena. As host to international and national championships, the ORDA says it has brought millions of athletes, spectators, and participants to the region, resulting in “significant economic development.”  

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