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Empire State Winter Games set to begin in Lake Placid

Photo of Empire State Winter Games banner
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Photo of Empire State Winter Games banner

The Empire State Winter Games opening ceremony is tonight in Lake Placid. The games will go on despite the cold forecast, although several competitions are being rescheduled.

Opening ceremonies for the 43rd annual Empire State games highlight sustainability by using the same torch and cauldron used during the World University Games in January. About 2,000 athletes and their families are in Lake Placid and surrounding communities for the competition. Adirondack Sports Council spokesperson Jon Lundin says the majority of the athletes are from New York state.

“This is the longest continuing state multi-sport event in the country. Largely they’re from New York state, but really they’re from all around. We have athletes from Canada. We have athletes from Vermont, New Hampshire and New England. Because of the sliding sports that are involved we’ve got athletes from Michigan and Wisconsin as well. And then for the sports there’s 21 different sports, from alpine skiing to figure skating to ice hockey. And then there’s the adaptive sports as well. Adaptive cross-country skiing, adaptive alpine skiing and adaptive hockey. You know the great thing about the Empire State Games is that it’s inclusive for people of all ages.”

The event runs through Sunday but significant wind chill forecasts have led to some events being rescheduled to a later start time, postponed or canceled. Lundin says the safety of athletes, volunteers and fans is of utmost importance, but if people attend they must be prepared for the cold.

“We’ve been watching the weather very very closely. And if that means that we have to move some things around then we are able to do that. And for spectators and fans and volunteers it’s of the utmost importance that you dress in layers, that you stay warm, that if you feel as though you’re becoming too chilled get inside, get warm and just really be aware of the cold and your surroundings while you’re outside enjoying outdoor speed skating or the Nordic sports or even alpine skiing at Whiteface.”

The Empire State Winter Games come just 11 days after the FISU World University Games concluded. Businesses in Lake Placid were disappointed by a lack of traffic from those international games. Village Trustee, Bookstore Plus co-owner and Lake Placid Business Association President Marc Galvin says the Empire Games is usually the second- or third-busiest weekend of the winter for restaurants and businesses.

“A lot of people didn’t know what to expect with the FISU games and obviously we have more of a history with the Empire and know what to expect. It usually is a pretty good weekend for Lake Placid because it’s families from all over the state that are coming here to compete. And obviously when they’re not competing they’re looking to eat or hit the shops or whatever. So typically it is very busy. The weather it looks a little iffy. Hopefully we can avoid cancellations which may or may not prevent people from coming to Lake Placid if their event was cancelled. Like I said it’s usually a good weekend for us if people come and I’m hoping that the weather isn’t too much of a deterrent for people to come and enjoy the weekend.”

Updated schedules will be posted at the Empire State Winter Games website.

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