LAKE PLACID - Hoevenberg's Hideaway didn't make it. Neither did Jumpin' Jo's, a reference to the late Henry Van Hoevenberg's fiancee who was thwarted from marrying him by her staid Philadelphia parents.
Instead, selected by popular vote, was the Loppet Lounge as the name of the new wine-and-cheese bar opened Saturday, Feb. 1 at the base lodge for the Mount Hoevenberg Cross-Country Ski Center at the Olympic Sports Complex.
The name Loppet honors the annual 25k and 50k race held at the venue, which traces its history and inspiration to the Vasaloppet in Sweden, the oldest, longest and biggest cross-country ski race in the world.
Olympic Sports Complex manager Tony Carlino and his wife, Mary Pat Ormsby (News photo — Naj Wikoff)
"I think the new addition to the base lodge is a nice place to stay, have a drink and relax by the fireplace," said Randy Witt. "If you have children, they can be out playing and you can relax inside instead of walking around on your skis waiting for them. Last year, they expanded the room to almost this size. I think they took out three rooms this year and made it that much bigger to fit the bar in. It's beautiful. They did a great job."
Since the 1980 Olympics, the lodge had a very straight forward, no frills feel about it with approximately one-third of the floor plan given to waxing and changing rooms and offices. All that is gone. The waxing rooms have moved to two separate facilities, space in the timing building for NYSEF participants and into a separate small building for the general public. In their places, walls have been removed, a carpet laid down, rustic furniture, a fireplace and a small bar added, and the walls decorated in a manner not unlike a North Country person's den. The grand opening featured live music by Celia Evans and free wine, beer and an array of hot treats donated by Centerplate.
"We felt we needed a softer room and a little more Adirondack lodge kind of an experience than what we had before," said Rebecca Dayton, marketing manager for the Olympic Sports Complex, operated by the state Olympic Regional Development Authority. "The building has always been a little on the plain side, so we are trying to make the best of what we have. People have responded really well. We have always had really strong programming, so now our lodge is going to catch up to that. If you were here this morning, you would have seen over a hundred kids skiing in programs we do in partnership with Lake Placid Ski Club, NYSEF and our own Pathfinders program that allows kids to move through all the levels they need so they get the right level of skiing for them. We also have a ski shop, a cafeteria, a great ski school with some very experienced instructors that have been with us for a long time, and all our tickets and programs are based out of here. We are pretty lucky on what we can offer because of the crew we have here even on a low snow year."
"I think they did a good job," said Ray MacIntyre. "It's nice. It's about time they gave a little money to the cross-country. I started skiing when I was 4. I skied downhill for 40 years. Then a snowboarder at Whiteface clobbered me. I quit downhill, and I have had 40 years of cross-country. I am now 84. I think this room adds a great deal to the experience of skiing out here because it is a fine place for people to gather and talk in front of the fireplace. When people finish skiing, this room helps them enjoy the experience a lot more."
"A lot of the decorations were donated, some were in storage and some we purchased," said Tony Carlino, manager of the Olympic Sports Complex. "We wanted to create a warm atmosphere for the cross-country community. The inspiration was that we wanted to upgrade the building. It has been here since 1980. We felt it was time for a change and time to step out a bit more than traditional cross-country lodges."
"We sent our staff home and said if you have anything that is Adirondack or woodsy to bring it back," said Dayton. "Everyone came in with a pile of stuff that we mixed up with old signs, and trail maps from the Olympics. It was a lot of fun putting it all together."
"I think this new room is fabulous," said Sue Cameron." I am incredibly impressed. It's decorated beautifully. It is warm and inviting. It's gorgeous."
The cross-country ski center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. daily. For conditions, visit www.whiteface.com.