Lake Placid hosted the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games, and families who visit during the winter can sample many of the same sports and venues enjoyed by Olympic athletes. Whiteface Mountain, site of the downhill ski races, lures skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, and ice-skaters can practice their tricks at the Olympic speed-skating oval. But for sheer thrills, nothing beats the luge and bobsled rides.
Climb into a fiberglass Luge Rocket, and after you've had a brief lesson, you can hurtle down a track with 16 turns at speeds approaching 80 miles per hour. The bobsled races down a half-mile track with a guide and a person at the brakes. Both rides are for children 48 inches and taller.
Slightly tamer is the Toboggan Chute for all ages on Mirror Lake. Participants climb a 30-foot-high platform to race down one of the side-by-side 166-foot-long wooden chutes and out onto the ice. Very young children can ride with their parents.
From December through March, watch ski jumpers as they soar off ramps at the Mackenzie-Intervale Ski Jumping Complex. From June to October you can watch them practice their landings in a 750,000-gallon pool. Take the elevator up 26 stories to the top to get the jumpers' terrifying perspective. Intermediate skiers and above can learn to ski jump at the complex.