LAKE PLACID - "It's our greatest Christmas present!"
That's what David Nicola of Mr. Mike's in Lake Placid yelled out to someone last week as he shoveled the sidewalk next to his business on Main Street.
On Thursday, as snow continued to fall, visitors and locals alike appeared to be giddy with excitement with the biggest snowfall in almost two years. All across the Olympic Village, people could be seen playing in the snow, and even those shoveling had smiles on their faces.
A skier plans his route in fresh powder on New Year’s Day at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area in Wilmington.
Photos/Richard Rosentreter/Lake Placid News
As the snow fell, Main Street bustled with activity, especially the local ski shops.
"It's been real busy. People are just buzzing about all the snow," said Robin Keysor, owner of Maui North.
In all, last week's storms dumped nearly two feet of snow on the region, and perhaps the happiest of all, were the throngs of skiers that packed the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area in Wilmington over the past week.
"The snow storm was a late Christmas present from Mother Nature," said Whiteface Mountain General Manager Aaron Kellett. "We got 24 inches in 24 hours and we went from 36 trails to now more than 70 in a matter of a couple of days. It is what we needed."
In just a three-day period before New Year's Day, the mountain had 14,000 visitors, according to Kellett. As of Wednesday, Whiteface had 73 trails open and 8 lifts operating with primary surface of packed powder, according to the mountain's daily ski report.
"I think the crowds heard about the storms and many people actually had snow in their backyard. When people have snow on the lawn they think about skiing," Kellett told the News. "Money can't buy that kind of advertising."
More terrain is slated to open as cold temperatures allow for more snowmaking, even as snow continues to be a weather staple.
"Our goal right now is to head over to Lookout Mountain. I am not sure if we will have it open for this weekend, but we had the snow guns there Wednesday," Kellett said. "Aside from the Lookout Mountain trails, there are only a couple trails that are not open."
During the holiday week, Whiteface also opened its newest attraction - an air bag for skiers and snowboarders to land on after performing tricks in the air. "The air bag is a 50'x50' bag filled with air that cushions your landing. Skiers and riders hit a jump and land on this huge soft bag," Kellett told the News. "It allows guests to work on new tricks with a safer landing than snow. It is so much fun!"
Rate information is available at www.whiteface.com or call 518-946-9222.
Kellett said the recent barrage of snow has everyone at the mountain in great spirits.
"When the skiers and snowboarders are happy, we are happy, and all we see are smiling faces," he said.