Splashing and soaring on a sunny day
LAKE PLACID – Flipping, twisting and splashing, and soaring and landing.
That’s what two groups of athletes have been doing on skis for a good part of the summer in Lake Placid, and they were at it again Wednesday as freestylers and ski jumpers were performing while honing their skills at the Olympic Jumping Complex.
On a warm sunny day in front of a large Wet n’ Wild Wednesday crowd, the aerialists and freestyle skiers kicked off the show by performing their tricks off three separate in-runs at the training pool. After the action wrapped up there, the focus shifted over to the 90- and 48-meter hills for the ski jumpers.
The shows have taken place each Wednesday and Saturday, and feature young athletes with Olympic dreams who train in Lake Placid. Wednesday’s show at the pool included nine freestylers who competed in a huck-and-tuck contest, along with six aerialists. They ranged in age from 13 to 18 and hailed from Bristol Mountain in Western New York, Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain and Whiteface Mountain.
“A lot of the kids who do this travel here for training camps, others just make it when they can, and others are local kids who are here for most of the summer,” NYSEF freestyle coach Richie Morgan said. “Twice a week, the kids put on a show, and this was a pretty good one. It was a show with a mini-competition in the middle of it.
“Usually, we have our regulars out there, and they are joined by some of the other skiers who come here to train,” Morgan added. “We ask coaches who have groups here to pick out some of their better skiers to be in the show.”
Eric Faklaris, a 16-year-old freestyler from Rochester, won Wednesday’s huck-and-tuck contest with a trick that involved a double backflip. He was one of the Bristol Mountain skiers participating.
“It was an awesome day,” Faklaris said. “Everybody saves up the biggest trick they can do for this event, so I feel pretty good coming out on top. It’s a really fun event, and it was great seeing all the people here.”
Wednesday’s jumping featured five athletes soaring off the 90-meter jump and two more training on the 48-meter hill. Jumpers on the big hill ranged in age from 12-year-old Landon Livreri to former competitor Taylor Hoffman, a Lake Placid resident who is in his 30s.
Carl Schultz, Trent White and United States National Team athlete and 2007 National Sports Academy graduate Chris Lamb were also soaring off the 90-meter hill, while Gabby Armstrong and Matt White were training on the 48-meter site.
“Taylor came back this summer and he’s just out there doing it for fun,” said NYSEF jump coach Larry Stone, who came out of retirement two years ago to work with the younger jumpers. “And he’s been doing pretty well, too.”
Stone said the jumpers have been training three days a week during the summer as they prepare for the upcoming winter season. He added that Lamb, of Andover, N.H., is one of the jumpers who is looking to earn a spot on the U.S. squad that will compete in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“Chris has been living and training in Norway for the past three years and now he is back,” Stone said. “He was very close to making the team that competed in the last Olympics.”
NYSEF coach Evan Bliss was also at the jumps Wednesday working with the athletes.
The final freestyle and ski jumping show of the summer will take place Saturday.