LAKE PLACID - The organizers behind the Empire State Winter Games say this year's event was a resounding success.
Officials hosted a luncheon for organizers and the media at the High Peaks Resort on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Jim McKenna, coordinator of the games' organizing committee, said 1,045 athletes registered from around the state for the event this year, as opposed to 858 in 2011.
"That's more than what we hoped for," he said.
The games were held Feb. 1 to 5. Traditionally, they had been held at the end of February.
"Our goal was to extend the games so they become more of an Olympic-style event instead of just a weekend event," McKenna said.
Two years ago, the state spent about $300,000 on the games. After those games were held, the state spiraled into fiscal chaos, forcing the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to cancel both the summer and winter games in November 2010. Hours later, in the Adirondacks, local governments, tourism agencies and private businesses teamed up to save the winter games.
The state had already spent about $100,000 on the 2011 event, and the local partnership raised about $80,000 on its own. Organizers raised about $95,800 and spent $95,500.
"We basically ended up breaking even," McKenna said. "That doesn't include additional sales from some of the hoodies we have left. When everything is said and done, we're going to be ending up in the positive. We're psyched about that, and it tells us very distinctly that we're going to be moving forward again next year with his."
McKenna said 2013 could see more expansion, including bringing events to Tupper Lake.
Lake Placid village Mayor Craig Randall said the 2012 games were "our games, because we didn't really have much of a resource left over from the state.
"So it was our show all the way," Randall said. "This year, the spectators were very happy, and the athletes had a games that was really put on for the athletes. We're continuing our traditions, we're doing well, and we'll continue the process in the future."
Organizers thanked sponsors for their financial support, and also thanked members of the press for their coverage of the event.
The games coincided with the first weekend of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. Charlie Martin, manager of the Mount Pisgah Ski Center, said both events benefitted.
"It increased the numbers in the village, and it fit very well with the whole program," he said.
Harrietstown Councilwoman Nichole Meyette said there were big numbers for carnival.
McKenna said next year's games are scheduled for Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, again coinciding with carnival.