Adaptive cross country skiing was one of the new events at the Empire State Games, which lost state funding but thrived with local support.
Can’t make it to Sochi for the Winter Olympic Games?
If not and you still seek the thrill of live winter sports action and competition, the Lake Placid area will again be filled with athletes from across the state of New York as the 34th annual Empire State Winter Games are set to begin Thursday, Feb. 6, and run through Sunday, Feb. 9.
The games will run hand-in-hand with the opening days of the Winter Olympiad in Sochi. Several athletes competing for Team USA had their start at the ESWG, which showcases talent from throughout the state in several different winter sports including skiing, bobsled, hockey, speed skating, figure sking and more.
Events will be held at numerous sites throughout numerous towns, including Lake Placid, Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Paul Smiths and Tupper Lake, which is the new home for thje women’s hockey tournament.
Events begin a day prior to the opening ceremonies with the annual torch run, thatwill travel through the North Country Feb. 5-6 to its destination in Lake Placid at the Opening Ceremony.
Opening ceremonies will take place in the Herb Brooks Arena at 6 p.m. There will also be an Empire Fun Fest Saturday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. with free activities and fireworks at 7 p.m.
For a listing of sporting events and times, visit the website empirestatewintergames.com.
Torch run set
Organizers of the Empire State Winter Games, presented by Hannaford Supermarkets, have announced the routing of the torch run that will precede the Opening Ceremony and the start of Games competition.
Coordinated by Saranac Lake Village Clerk Kareen Tyler, who reached out to area schools, the torch run, is supported by Stewart’s Shops, which for the past four years, has provided re-fueling and warm-up for the torch runners.
The torch run commences on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 9:30 a.m. at the Tupper Lake Elementary School. The community will not only begin the iconic run, but will also host women’s hockey in the civic center. The torch run and hockey tournament mark Tupper Lake’s first participation in the annual event.
“The response we have received from Tupper Lake has been very enthusiastic, not only for hockey, but the school kids are really coming out in support of the torch run,” said Tyler. “Then when we arrive in Saranac Lake, the Empire State Winter Games will meet the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival as both events will complement each other.”
Tupper Lake has 810 students involved, marking a noteworthy kick off to the run, which will bring the torch to the Tupper Lake Stewart’s Shop. It will be delivered to the Saranac Lake Stewart’s where, at 11:30 a.m., it will be taken down Bloomingdale Avenue and up Olive Street by students of St. Bernard’s School. At 11:45 a.m., it will venture over the LaPan Highway to Petrova Elementary School at the bus circle.
The torch will make its way down LaPan Highway at 12:15 p.m., heading to the corner of LaPan Highway and Main Street to meet the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Court. It will then proceed to the Carnival Ice Palace on River Street where it will be greeted by Mayor Clyde Rabideau.
Following a drive to Keene, at 1:30 p.m., fifth grade students will carry the torch around Keene Central School. The schedule then finds the torch at the Ausable Forks Elementary School at 3 p.m. where 20 high school students will bring it to the local Stewart’s Shop.
The final leg of the journey will start Thursday evening, Feb. 6, at 5:30 p.m., at Stewart’s in Lake Placid, for the jog into the Opening Ceremony at the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena at 6 p.m.
In addition, 12 students, representing the towns and villages in the regional coalition that took over the ESWG in 2010, will carry flags into the Opening Ceremony prior to the arrival of the torch.