Skating, for me, has always been a challenge.
As a kid, I was daredevil enough to put on skates, go full speed on a rink and ram into other skaters because I had no clue how to stop!
Nowadays, this is more about avoiding to fall and breaking any part of my ageing body!
On the Loop
That being said, I had always wanted to go skating on the lake, especially this formidable loop that the village prepares for the winter. I believe it’s the third winter people can enjoy skating on the loop, as before, The Parks Department only cleared a space for hockey and general skating near the town beach.
Well, it was rough and difficult (for me, as a beginner) but enjoyable, as we met families, kids and elders, all appreciating the views and the warm day on the lake.
Sometime ago, when we were just visiting Lake Placid and the Olympic sites, we went up Mt Van Hoevenberg to visit the Olympic track, where all bobsleigh, luge and skeleton races are held. I always wanted to experience it but it never was on top of our list.
So, when our family came visiting from abroad, it just became the right thing to do. Before going there, we all checked the Lake Placid website, where all is explained: “If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be an Olympic slider, this is the place to start. Bobsled rides, with a professional driver and brakeman, begin at the half-mile point on the track and wind through turns known by sliders the world over. You’ll feel the rumble of the sled thundering down the track. You’ll speed through one turn, bank high on the next one and pick up speed on the straightaway. You’ll go faster than you’re allowed to drive a car through town. Then you’ll get to the bottom and want to do it again.”
At least, we knew what to expect. Well, it went fast. Really fast! Average speed about 55mph, a total elapsed time of 47:85s, but it felt like it was quite longer than that, given all the turns, the back and forth from one side of the track to the other side. A rare treat! Worth doing again. You can watch it here. If only, we could do it from the top…
Two years ago, I enjoyed my first war (read here). Today, it was about discovering who had the tastiest chicken wings in the region! The public helps decide the winner of Wings War VIII, a friendly but fierce competition among area restaurants that raised funds for North Country Life Flight, the region’s air medical rescue team.
10 eateries participated, each bringing 500 of their best wings to WiseGuys, the organizer once again. Included were 2014 Grand Champion The Cottage, then Delta Blue, Generations, Dancing Bears, Wiseguys, Kanu, Price Chopper, Smoke Signals, and newcomers Top of The Park and Blue Line Brewery.
The creativity from the chefs and quality of the wings get better every year. There were a lot of people lining up to taste those wings, from the hot ones (Wiseguys, Delta Blue), to the smoked ones (Smoke Signals) and the unusual ones (Top of the Park, Blue Line). We tasted them all, and, needless to say, this proved to be difficult. My favorite was Blue Line Brewery from Saranac Lake, while Lucie’s was Top of The Park.
At the end of the day, $5,385 were raised for North Country Life Flight. The 2015 Grand Champion, selected by a panel of judges, is Smoke Signals! And the 2015 Fan Favorite Award Winner is Top of the Park!!
Can’t wait for next year!
Spring has finally come and it’s time to celebrate. Daffest returned to Saranac Lake, last Friday, with a kick-off party at the Blue Moon Cafe (that we like so much). This is the fifth annual daffodil-themed celebration of spring festival, and it has steadily grown each year.
The whole community jumped right in, and, after the long winter, it was great to see the daffodils blooming. There were plenty of events, ranging from the “Canvas, Cake and Cocktails”, “Try Mine Pastry Contest”, to the “Festival of the Blooms” and a pie eating contest, among others.
But, the real treat is the Daffest derby, an old-fashioned soap box derby race. The police closed the LaPan highway, from 7AM to 4PM on Saturday. Locals brought 600 bales of hay, and the racing festivities began around 8AM with the safety checks, followed by the trial runs. The race started at 11AM and lasted more than 90 minutes, as there were a lot of kids (in 4 categories: 5-to-8, 9-to-12, 13-to-15, and 16 and up), coming from Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Malone, Massena and even Plattsburgh.
Needless to say, it was a lot of fun.
Concentration before the start
Waiting for the green light
The fastest (in my book!)
If you happened to be at Whiteface Mountain on Sunday, you’d have met a lot of people with “interesting” costumes. Spiderman was there. And Superman, Real Grouchy, Batman, a white tiger and some more… This was because of the International Pond Skimming Contest.
The idea is very simple: Think you can make it across a sea of slush? Many have tried and almost as many have failed but crossing the pond isn’t the only way to win. Contestants are judged on distance, splash and costume! Yes, there is also a jury handing notes, as in an international skating competition.
In a field of more than 90 contestants, only a handful made it to the other side. Most fell short, some making the plunge and the others doing face plants in chilly water. One even tried it on a bike. Enough said!
The coolest! Beer in hand, he went through!
The 2015 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival officially started on Friday, February 6th, and will close on February 15th. The 10 days of festivities include some of the big events carnival goers love and expect, like the Ladies’ Fry Pan Toss, the Rotary Club Variety Show, and, of course, the Gala Parade.
As always, there are some new additions to the schedule, including music and movies geared to this year’s 1960s theme, and, without fail, another new wacky Carnival event, one that involves rolling bowling balls across the ice.
We spent most of the morning around the incredible ice castle, with great additional ice sculptures (I really loved the ice VW kombi, straight from my hippie years).
Then we went golfing. Yes, Arctic Golf was added in the lineup last year, so you can play miniature golf on a course with obstacles made of snow and ice. A great way to spend time with kids!
If you’re not fond of being outside with temperatures in the minus tens, you could still enjoy the multiple themed shows happening indoors at night. There are a lot of theme-specific events, like selections from “Hair”, the musical, or tributes by local performers to the music of the era in a show labeled as “Saranac Lake sings the Sixties”. And tonight is the “Get your 60’s Groove On” dance party at the town hall.
What a great event! For more information, please visit the Carnival website.