Visitor’s Guide to the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, New York (Our Experience)

When you’re in Lake Placid, a visit isn’t truly complete without exploring the Olympic Jumping Complex. Here, you can witness aspiring Olympians display their skills and dedicate themselves to achieving their dream of standing on an Olympic podium. It’s a unique and awe-inspiring experience that you definitely don’t want to miss.

In the following guide, I’ll provide you with all the essential information for your visit to the Olympic Jumping Complex, including the most cost-effective approach and tips on securing the best vantage point.

What is the Olympic Jumping Complex?

The Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, New York, is a sports venue that was originally constructed for the 1980 Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid. It is primarily used for ski jumping events and features two ski jumps: the K-90 and K-120 meter ski jumps.

The complex not only serves as a competition venue but also as a training facility for athletes aspiring to participate in ski jumping events. Visitors to the Olympic Jumping Complex can also take tours and even experience the thrill of heading to the top of the structure. More on that below!

Olympic Jumping Complex ski jump

Where is the Olympic Jumping Complex?

The Olympic Jumping Complex is located at 5486 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY.

It’s located close to the Lake Placid Horse Show which is close to where you can find the site of the 1980 Winter games Olympic torch (adjacent to the Lake Placid Track).

How can you visit the Olympic Jumping Complex?

As explained below, you can access the jumping complex for free and watch some of the athletes perform their training jumps.

But if you want to get up close to the action or head up in the ski jump then you will need to pay for a ticket which involves a ride on the gondola.

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.

The Lake Placid Legacy Sites Passport 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

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Olympic Jumping Complex ski jump

Our experience at the Olympic Jumping Complex

We made several trips to the Olympic Jumping Complex, eager to witness the incredible feats of these promising young athletes as they soared through the air.

To witness the spectacle, we checked the schedule ahead of time and arrived when the athletes were training. You can find these schedules in paper form at the main lodge (where you buy tickets, souvenirs, and snacks), or you might want to give them a call in advance to inquire. I’m uncertain if these schedules are regularly updated online.

Of course, they also still hold major ski jump events here so keep that in mind. In fact, it’s reported that the jump complex is the only one in North America “homologated for winter and summer jumping competitions.”

The site itself is impressive to explore even when you don’t catch the jumpers in mid-air action, but aligning your visit with their training sessions significantly enhances the experience. I highly recommend planning your trip during those times for an even more memorable visit.

On one side of the complex, you’ll come across the Freestyle Aerial Training Center which houses a pool equipped with some jaw-dropping ramps that launch skiers into the water. During our visit, we had the pleasure of witnessing a training session featuring young skiers of different skill levels.

One of the skiers appeared to be in the early stages of their journey, while the others showcased more advanced skills, pulling off some seriously impressive aerial maneuvers.

Olympic Jumping Complex frrestyle

The scene had a fun vibe with blasting music, creating a unique and captivating spectacle as they honed their craft. What’s even cooler is that this entire area is open for viewing without requiring an admission fee.

Olympic Jumping Complex frrestyle

Following our exploration of the freestyle jumps, we proceeded to make our way up to the higher ski jump.

To reach our destination, we hopped aboard the Skyride, an enclosed gondola that swiftly transported us uphill. While it’s priced at $20 for the ride, we used our legacy sites passport..

Upon reaching the summit of the hill, we strolled over to the foot of the towering 128-meter ski jump and ascended to the pinnacle in a glass-enclosed elevator. The vistas during the elevator ride and from the summit were undeniably awe-inspiring, as were there during the peak of foliage season.

Olympic Jumping Complex gondola
Olympic Jumping Complex gondola view

Once you step onto the Sky Deck, you’ll be treated to sweeping, panoramic views of Lake Placid and the majestic Adirondack Mountains that envelop the area. It’s an incredibly stunning sight to behold.

Olympic Jumping Complex ski jump

Once you’re up there, a cozy lounge awaits, providing a space to unwind. You can catch a screening of one of the films delving into the history of the Olympic Games, gaining insights into the events of years gone by.

Olympic Jumping Complex ski jump lodge

Afterward, step outside and ascend a flight of stairs to reach the pinnacle of the jump.

From this vantage point, you’ll stand in close proximity to the very spot where Olympians stood during the 1980 Winter Olympic Games.

It offers an incredible view looking down, allowing you to vividly imagine the rush of adrenaline and intense concentration that ski jumpers experience as they prepare to launch down this slope. If heights give you a thrill, don’t be surprised if your palms start to get a bit sweaty while you’re up there!

Olympic Jumping Complex ski jump

After soaking in those breathtaking vistas, you can either extend your stay at the launch area a bit longer or opt for the descent.

During our visit, we strategically timed it to catch a glimpse of the daredevils from the coach’s deck. This vantage point, situated right beside the ski jumps, offers an unparalleled view of the skilled ski jumpers in action.

There are two different decks and I would recommend the bottom deck because of how close you can get to the ski jumpers coming down hill. The second deck also has good views but there is a corner reserved for the coach so keep that in mind.

After a couple of days spent observing and chatting with fellow spectators, it became evident that their training sessions don’t usually kick off precisely on time. Typically, they get underway about 15 to 20 minutes or later than the scheduled time.

However, if you’re eager to secure a prime spot on the coaches’ platform, you might not want to wait that long. We managed to snag a corner spot on the platform, which offered the best view, especially if you’re keen on witnessing the skiers’ full run as they descend the hill and execute their landings.

Prior to their jump, you can catch the jumpers in the midst of their warm-up routine, which includes stretching and various drills to prepare themselves. It’s quite fascinating to observe their interactions with their coach as they gear up for their gravity-defying feats.

You’ll know that the action is about to commence when the sprinkler systems kick in, showering the jump and the green landing area below to ensure a slick surface.

Eventually, we witnessed a group of young jumpers making their way up the slope.

Once their coach gave them the green light, it took mere seconds for them to hurtle down the ramp at astonishing speeds and then gracefully take flight.

Olympic Jumping Complex ski jump

Each jumper executed seemingly flawless landings — it was truly impressive.

It’s one of those experiences that you’ve watched on TV during the Olympics for years. But seeing it live is just different and gives you a new appreciation for the sport.

Olympic Jumping Complex ski jump

After each round, the jumpers head back up using the gondola to prepare for another thrilling round of jumps. Following our observation of two separate rounds, we decided to head to the bottom to gain a different vantage point, which was equally fascinating.

Olympic Jumping Complex ski jump

This alternative perspective doesn’t require any payment, and if the sun is shining and it’s a bit warm, a great spot to watch from is the pavilion connected to the main visitor center and gift shop. There, you’ll find comfortable chairs to relax on while enjoying a pretty impressive view.

Final word

Visiting the Olympic Jumping Complex was an absolute highlight of our Lake Placid experience. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the Winter Olympics and utterly captivated by the ski jump event.

It always struck me as an awe-inspiring feat, and at this center, you can watch athletes launch themselves off the ramp, which takes the experience to a whole new level of incredibility.

So, while a visit when no training sessions are happening is certainly worthwhile, for some, I’d go as far as saying that I’d do everything in my power to time the visit with a jumping session at the ski jump and also at the pool. It adds an extra layer of excitement to an already fantastic experience.