LAKE PLACID - Peaceful.
That's what came to mind as I made my way along gently rolling snow-covered hills that glistened in the sunlight, hearing the sounds of birds calling out to one another in the distance as they soared above treetops in the baby blue sky.
While it may sound like I was out in the middle of the wilderness somewhere, I was actually out on the Lake Placid Club upper golf course, which is owned and operated by the the Crowne Plaza Resort.
Photos/Margaret Moran/Lake Placid News
Just one of the scenic vistas at the Lake Placid Club golf course on state Route 86.
During the winter months a golf course can become an area where people can enjoy winter recreational activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding even when snow cover is minimal.
My activity of choice on Saturday, Feb. 4 was snowshoeing. With snowshoes strapped onto my boot-clad feet and poles in my gloved hands, I started the trek into the golf course, each step putting distance between me and state Route 86.
Only the tracks of past travelers disturbed the snow-covered hills, which I knew had to be fresh, since it had snowed the night before. While I could make the out the narrow tracks of cross-country skiers and the footprints of strollers in the snow, I saw no one else out on the golf course with me.
That took me by surprise because it was a beautiful day with the sun shining, fresh snow on the ground, temperatures in the mid-20s and a light wind.
Alone, I plodded up a hill with ease, the wind blowing past my face and snow buckling under my feet. Once I reached the top, I took in my surroundings and was thoroughly impressed.
Rising above in the distance were rolling mountains - some of them snow covered - in a bluish haze. Their majestic and grandeur nature on display for all to see.
"Wow! It's beautiful," I said out loud about the sight before me. I didn't expect to see such views at the golf course.
As I continued on my way, it seemed as if every few steps I took, a new scenic site revealed itself, forcing me to stop and admire it.
Eager to see what other sights the golf course had to behold, I made my way up and down slopes, across clearings to the outer edges of the course, which featured more trees.
Just before entering a patch of brush, I caught sight of a few people across the street sledding on the hills of the lower golf course.
Sledding and cross-country skiing
"We're having a blast," said John Synnott, of Vergennes, Vt., in reference to his family's golf course sledding experience. The sounds of his children's laughter could be heard while they slid, glided and occasionally wiped out going down the snow-covered hills before running up them to do it again.
"We miss playing in the snow," his wife, Betsy Synnott, said.
According to her, due to the lack of snow at home, this was their first time sledding as a family this winter.
"We knew there would be snow in Lake Placid, there's always a little snow in Lake Placid," Betsy said.
For that reason when they travelled to the village, the family made sure to pack sleds and snow saucers along with their belongings.
"We're just taking advantage of the snow here," Betsy said.
And they weren't alone.
The Eldridge family, of Saratoga Springs, were also sledding that day on the golf course, not far from where the Synnotts were stationed.
"I like this hill," Jay Eldridge said. "There's plenty of room for other sledders, it's not crowded and there's plenty of diverse terrain. You've got your shooters, the bowl, the glades. Also, you can't beat the scenery with mountains to the left and the sun towards the right."
His children, Teagan and Owen Eldridge, were more focused on the actual sledding experience rather than their surroundings.
"I like going fast," Teagan said.
"I like getting air on the jumps," Owen said.
Jay was also enjoying his time on the hills, often sledding down with his children, all of them smiles.
"It makes me feel like a kid again," he said.
While the Synnotts and the Eldridges were sledding on the golf course, a cross-country skier passed by. Even though I didn't get a chance to speak to her, I came across another individual cross-country skiing at the end of my travels.
Mike Devlin, of Lake Placid, said he cross-country skis "a fair" amount at the Lake Placid Club Golf Courses.
"I like it (here) because I'm getting older," he said. "It's a safe place to ski. A lot of places in the woods are hilly, but tend to be curvy and challenging. This is a place for people who ski less well, and it has incredible views."
Despite that, he said he doesn't often see many people on the golf course during the winter months.
"It always surprises me," Devlin said. Later adding, "The skiing has never been better here."
To have you're own winter experience on a golf course, equipment can be rented at various local outdoor shops.
The price to rent a cross-country ski equipment package, which includes skis, boots and poles, for a day is $25 at High Peaks Cyclery on Main Street. Snowshoes can also be rented there for $20 a day with poles costing an additional $10.
Contact Margaret Moran at 518-523-4401 or at email@example.com