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Paul Schommer of the US biathlon team, right, teaches a spectator how to shoot Thursday at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Parker O’Brien)

LAKE PLACID – The word “Wow” was the only word Ivo Ferriani, president of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation and president of winter sports of the International Olympic Committee, said when he first saw the new facilities at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

“The result has been excellent, it means that you are ready to organize events with no size (or) quality limits. You are ready for whatever you want to do ”, said Ferriani.

On Thursday, the state’s Olympic Regional Development Authority celebrated Olympic Day by touring the newly renovated facilities and introducing the national biathlon, bobsleigh and skeleton teams at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

“From my point of view, it was just to show the national teams using the new facilities and the reaction to the new facilities”, said ORDA CEO Mike Pratt.

The tour, which was not open to the public, began with a presentation of the new biathlon lineup, as members of the National Junior Team presented the roller ski track as well as the shooting range. Four-time Olympic biathletes Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke, who grew up in the Tri-Lakes region and live in Lake Placid, presented the national team.

A brand new wheeled cart descends the bobsleigh track Thursday at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Parker O’Brien)

“I think this is a fantastic exhibition opportunity for the sport, and we really have everything we need in one location now from a perfect range of trail systems, great snowmaking, summer training and perfect hospitality to support visitors, fans and parents. “ said Max Cobb, President and CEO of US Biathlon.

According to Cobb, the new line can accommodate athletes from the National Team, the New York Ski Education Foundation and other youth programs who all train at the same time.

“It’s brand new and has an awesome shooting range and the ski slope is really tough which is important for the teams training here which just helps you get better. “ said four-time Olympic biathlon medalist Andrea Henkel-Burke, who competed for Germany and now lives in Lake Placid with her husband Tim Burke. “The descent is not easy, but if everyone could do it …”

Previously, the biathlon ski course and shooting range were located on another part of the property. With the new upgrades and a new pavilion, fans, visitors and family members can now easily watch biathletes compete against each other.

“You’ve heard Lowell talk about the inspiration young athletes get when they come to see sport, and NYSEF has a great program,” Cobb said. “I know ORDA is going to have a youth program for little kids, and I think that’s exactly the kind of organic development we want to see.”

Helen Wilson of the US National Junior Biathlon Team shoots at targets Thursday at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Parker O’Brien)

The presentation was then followed by a shooting demonstration by members of the national team, where spectators were able to try out shooting with a biathlon rifle.

On the other side of the new Mountain Pass Lodge, a presentation of bobsleigh and skeleton. The new venue and new pavilion have been described as an Olympic Village, with all three sports being housed in the same building.

Additions to the new bobsleigh and skeleton facilities include a refrigerated indoor push-up track, warm-up areas, a weight room, and even an indoor sprint track for athletes.

“It is difficult to compare it to other installations”, said two-time Olympic bobsleigh medalist Curt Tomasevicz. “There aren’t really many that have the advantages this one has. Yes, Canada has an indoor ice facility. Germany too, but all the things that go with it – the lodge, the warm-up area, the location next to the track – all of that makes it a huge plus for us.

In addition to the major improvements to the interior, many changes have been made to the exterior track, which opened in 2000. It can now be used all year round with the addition of wheeled carts.

Lexie Madigan, a member of the US junior biathlon team, gets up to shoot Thursday at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Parker O’Brien)

Many members of the national bobsleigh and skeleton team displayed the new indoor push-up track, as they prepared to train for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. The Olympics also mark the first year that the female monobob, a one-person sled, will be added.

Two-time Olympic bobsleigh gold medalist Kaillie Humphries, who previously represented Canada, led a group of spectators down the indoor pushing track in a “UNITED STATES” song. “The Germans had better beware. We return, said Humphries.

Humphries and other members of the bobsleigh and skeleton team explained the importance of the modernized facilities.

Along with the major upgrades and additions to the Mount Van Hoevenberg facilities, many more events are expected to take place on the biathlon field and on the bobsleigh and skeleton track.

Lake Placid will host a Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup event in December and host the World University Winter Games in 2023.

“Sport lives here” said Ferriani. “I think for the region and the community, this is something unique. You have created a condition for living in the best place in North America.

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