Olympic connections

olympics - danny wild
An athlete competes during the girl's slalom event at Whiteface Mountain, site of the 1980 Olympic Games, in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Danny Wild/MaxPreps)

I’m glued to the Vancouver Olympics this week and it’s really making me want to shoot skiing again. I had the incredible opportunity of shooting the New York state high school skiing championships a couple years ago up in Lake Placid, N.Y., the home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games.

Gotta admit, it was a sweet deal. MaxPreps, who I’ve shot for since 2007, has a deal with the state to cover state championship events. Lake Placid is about a four-hour drive from me in Rockland County, but I’ve been up there many, many times for camping trips in nearby Wilmington. I got to stay in a beautiful hotel on Mirror Lake for a few days, but during the day, it was definitely some challenging work.

Lake Placid’s skiing venues aren’t at the same location — downhill and alpine events are at Whiteface Mountain, a short drive from Lake Placid’s Main Street and Olympic Village. The cross-country and nordic skiing events were hosted at Mt. Van Hoovenberg, basically in the opposite direction of Whiteface. Mt. Van Hoovenberg I think has been renamed something like the Verizon Olympic Sports Complex and also houses the bobsled and luge venues.

An athlete competes at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, NY. (Danny Wild/MaxPreps.com)

I’d never shot skiing before when I took on this assignment, but it was pretty fun once I got the hang of it. The difficult part was trying to get decent coverage of both events at two locations at the same time. It worked out really well though.

Shooting downhill was a little uncomfortable at times because I’d kneel in the snow, and it would eventually melt and become hardened ice — every once in awhile I’d need to shift slightly. Of course, it was freezing, and snowing, so that added to it. It was always a bright overcast in terms of shooting conditions.

Whiteface skiing
An athlete competes at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, NY. (Danny Wild/MaxPreps.com)

Shooting at an Olympic venue was both a thrill and an honor; I actually once skiied the Olympic cross-county course myself as a kid at Mt. Van Hoovenberg. I primarily used my 300mm f/2.8L lens for both venues and loved every minute of it. It snowed non-stop for three days in Lake Placid, we got several feet of snow, but luckily my motel had an underground parking garage!

cross-county skiing
Athletes compete in the girl's nordic relay at Mt. Van Hoovenberg at the Verizon Sports Complex, the 1980 Olympic venue at Lake Placid, NY. (Danny Wild/MaxPreps.com)

I’ll probably post some more from this week of shooting, I got some cool shots, especially the cross-county event, but I never got a chance to go back.

Saturday is Army-Navy at West Point, the men’s game will be live on CBS College Sports. I’ll be at the game after shooting the Army lacrosse home opener at Michie Stadium… photos coming soon!


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