Over a century of snowball fights

Did you know? Lake Placid has been a winter destination since long before it hosted the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games. We’ve been playing in the snow here for over 100 years!

Though the Adirondack village had become a popular summer destination for Northeast city dwellers in the late 1800’s, Lake Placid’s winter sports history began with Melvil Dewey, of Dewey Decimal System fame and founder of the Lake Placid Club. Dewey refused to listen to skeptics, extending the Lake Placid Club’s season through the winter of 1904-’05.  By 1914, Dewey had garnered the support of the community as he succeeded in creating America’s First Winter Resort.

Lake Placid’s place on the world competitive sports stage began in the 1920’s, and it all began with speed skating.

Charles Jewtraw, James Hennessy and Ray Bryant, referred to as the “Lake Placid Skating Trio,” were the first in a long line of Lake Placid athletes to compete on the National, and then International scene.  The three speed skaters were members of the thriving Lake Placid Skating Association.  In 1920, the Association, led by President Henry Uihlein II, boasted a membership of 472, and trained on Mirror Lake in those days.  One of the articles from 1919 alluded to community pessimism that was extinguished by the enthusiasm generated by these athletes’ success.

The Lake Placid Skating Trio participated and excelled in competitions in the Midwest and the West, and were the most significant factor in creating the association between Lake Placid and winter sports. In fact, Jewtraw went on to win the first gold medal at the very first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924.

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