Lake Placid Loppet: Big Changes for 2015

Last year, following another weather-related postponement to March, the Lake Placid Loppet organizers signaled their intention to move the race to March permanently.  OK.  But like many, I was surprised to find the early registration fee for the Loppet also jumped to $99.00 this year.  For those keeping score at home, that’s a whopping 65% increase.

Skiers climbing a section of the Lake Placid Loppet course.

Skiers climbing a section of the Lake Placid Loppet course.

 

I’ve often wondered why the Lake Placid Loppet attract more entrants.  You’d think people would chomp at the bit to try their luck at a former Olympic venue.  They already had a 25 k kortloppet option.  Adding a classic technique option to the mix was a great move.  Adding in a shorter event – the 12.5 k, for novices, is a good idea seen at many of the bigger North American ski marathons.

But was it necessary to schedule the Loppet for the same weekend as the Saint Lawrence Winter Carnival?  Perhaps, if you’re in the hospitality business in Lake Placid.

Dick Carlson has decried the changes more eloquently than I could, with a caustic commentary on the Adirondack Almanac.  The president of Cross Country Ski Areas of New York, Carlson ran Garnet Hill’s ski operation for 25 years.

So, why the huge price increase? Mostly someone is trying to mimic the successful festival races like the Birkie or the Boulder Mountain Tour. – Dick Carlson, on The Adirondack Almanac

For over 25 years, the Lake Placid Loppet has been on my calendar, the way midwesterners look forward to the American Birkebeiner.  It’s always been well-organized, and in recent years they seem to prefer postponing the race if conditions negate using the full 25-km loop.  And it’s understood that price increases happen: the organizers need to cover costs.  But if one is trying to imitate “successful festival races,” one doesn’t start by ramping up the price 65% in one year.

I used to say that the Lake Placid Loppet is the best value in citizens’ racing in the northeast.  No more.