Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour Review: Strolling Down a Real Bobsled Track

Lake Placid offers several unique opportunities to explore the history of the Olympic games and to witness the next generation of Olympians as they train and pursue their dreams.

You can catch ski jumpers and freestyle skiers soaring through the air at the jumping complex, and you can also observe bobsledders and biathlon athletes honing their skills at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour.

Below, I’ll provide a comprehensive overview of what you can anticipate on the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour, along with some handy tips to ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.

What is the Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour?

The Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour offers visitors a guided journey through Olympic venues, including the bobsled and luge tracks, cross-country skiing trails, and biathlon shooting ranges.

As you journey through these hallowed grounds, you may find yourself in the privileged position of witnessing Olympic athletes in the throes of their rigorous training regimens.

Beyond the spectacle of world-class athletes preparing for their upcoming competitions, this tour serves as a treasure trove of Olympic history. It offers deep insights into the unforgettable moments and iconic achievements from past games.

In sum, it’s an enriching and unforgettable experience for anybody who would consider themselves a fan of the Olympics.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track

Booking the Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour

Booking your tour for the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour is a breeze.

You have the option to reserve your spot online in advance or simply show up and secure your ticket on the spot. Tours typically kick off on the hour, running from 9 AM to 4 PM. During the high season, it’s possible that some time slots may be sold out, so booking online in advance can be a smart move.

However, if you’re visiting during the more relaxed fall season when the crowds are thinner, you can usually just stroll in and make your booking without any fuss.

Tickets for adults are only $15 per person but if you plan on seeing other sites in the Lake Placid area then I would recommend for you to purchase the Lake Placid Legacy Sites Passport which gives you the following benefits for $64:

  • One-time admission to the Veterans’ Memorial Highway
  • Ride on Whiteface Mountain’s Cloudsplitter gondola
  • Olympic Legacy Tour at Mt Van Hoevenberg
  • Skyride Experience at the Olympic Jumping Complex
  • Entry to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum
  • Sticker set to collect at each venue
  • 10% discount on purchases made at the various retail stores and food and beverage vendors located at the destination venues
Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour

Our experience on the Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour

When we finally geared up for the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour, we had already been soaking up the Lake Placid vibe for a couple of weeks.

By then, we’d tackled the cliffside coaster, checked out the ski jump, explored the Olympic museum, and cruised the scenic drive on Whiteface Mountain. This tour was the last piece of the Olympic puzzle on our list.

We rolled up around 10 minutes before the 11 AM kickoff, flashed our legacy sites passport for tickets, and then hung out in the lobby area, conveniently stocked with a gift shop.

Our tour group was on the smaller side, with just four of us tagging along. This size made the experience feel pretty intimate, a nice change from some of those larger tours you can find out there.

The tour kicked off with a jaunt to a spot where we could view the biathlon area.

Full disclosure, I didn’t have a clue about what a biathlon entailed until our tour guide, who was impressively well-versed in the sport, enlightened us. Turns out, she had a personal connection to it since her own kids were part of the biathlon scene.

As luck would have it, we got to witness a real-deal biathlon athlete in action. This gal was out there, firing her rifle and gliding around on rollerskis, giving us a firsthand look at this unique sport.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour biatholan

Next up was one of the coolest aspects of the tour, both literally and figuratively. We ventured indoors to explore the bobsled training track where athletes hone their starting skills. I should mention, it gets pretty chilly in there, so packing a jacket is a smart move since you’ll be hanging out for a bit.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled training track

Inside, we were treated to the sight of several athletes in training. It was seriously impressive watching them give it their all, propelling those hefty sleds while sprinting like mad on the ice.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled training track

This is what I really love about Lake Placid – these tours bring winter sports to life.

For folks who haven’t had much exposure to the likes of ski jumps and bobsleds, witnessing athletes in action is an eye-opener, and it instills a deep appreciation for the dedication and skill involved.

After soaking in the action and learning the ropes of bobsledding – how athletes train and navigate the courses – it was time for us to head back outside.

We strolled over to the finish line of the 1932 and 1980 bobsled track, the very path that the Cliffside Coaster now traces.

Our guide treated us to more nuggets of knowledge, delving into the history of the Olympic Games in ’32 and ’80. You’ll learn about the history of the track and how it has evolved over the years. As someone who’s always had a fascination with the Olympics, having so many of my burning questions answered was a real treat.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track

Following that, it was shuttle bus time.

This bus whisked us on a brief uphill journey to the starting point of the more modern bobsled track, born in 2000. But before we stepped on the shuttle, we had a chance to soak up some jaw-dropping views from a spacious observation platform.

Given our visit coincided with the peak of fall foliage, the sight of oranges and reds carpeting the landscape below was nothing short of breathtaking.

However, Mother Nature had a surprise in store for us. A storm rolled in with a vengeance, quickly shrouding those beautiful views and sending us scrambling for cover to avoid getting soaked. Luckily, we would have cover for the remainder of the tour.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track

Then came the moment I consider the main attraction of this tour: the chance to stroll down an actual bobsled track. Don’t worry, though, it’s not icy during these tours, so you can leave your slipping concerns behind.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track
Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track

As you navigate this bobsled track on foot, your guide offers insights into the track itself.

It’s a pretty awesome sensation, walking down a track like this, and it’s mind-blowing when you encounter the sheer size of some of those turns. You can easily picture what it must be like sitting sideways, hurtling down them at top speed.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track

It’s also interesting to see the various on-ramps used for different winter sports like luge and skeleton.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track

After your stroll along the track wraps up, the tour comes to an end. You’ve got a choice at this point: either hop on the shuttle for a ride back down, or opt for a leisurely walk down the hill on your own.

Despite the light rain, we decided to take the walk down. Why? Well, we wanted to savor those up-close views and spend some quality time with that awe-inspiring bobsled track.

Plus, we could not resist spending more time with the fall foliage painting the landscape in shades of red and orange, mountain coasters whizzing by against the backdrop, and those massive bobsled turns looming above us as we strolled past. It was a seriously cool experience, raindrops and all.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track
Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour bobsled track
Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour coaster

And just like that, our multi-day journey exploring Olympic sites in the Lake Placid area came to an end.

As we headed back to the parking lot, something caught my eye – the disabled parking signs had a unique twist, featuring icons of paraathletes. It was a clever and heartwarming touch, reflecting the can-do attitude that permeates this place.

When you visit Lake Placid the positive spirit is palpable and it left me feeling truly inspired.

It’s the kind of vibe that lights a fire under you, motivating you to chase your dreams and put in the hard work. That’s why Lake Placid and its remarkable sites, like the one we just experienced, are a fantastic destination for anyone in need of a dose of inspiration and motivation. You will feel the need to get out and do something.

Mt Van Hoevenberg Olympic Legacy Tour parking

Final word

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Watching bobsled athletes train and being able to walk on a bobsled track are two things that you just don’t get to experience in many places in the world.

If you happen to have the legacy sites passport, the question arises: should you embark on this tour at the start or end of your visit?

Starting with it can give you a solid foundational understanding of the Olympics and its events, which can enhance your appreciation for the other sites you’ll encounter, like the ski jump.

However, my recommendation would be to save it for the grand finale.

After you’ve explored all the other sites, you’ll likely have a wealth of questions, and having a super knowledgeable guide at the end can be just the ticket to satisfy your curiosity. It’s the icing on the Lake Placid Olympic cake, if you will.

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