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Empire State Winter Games has new sites, games

Long track speedskating will join short track events at the 2012 Winter Empire State Games.

Long track speedskating will join short track events at the 2012 Winter Empire State Games. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— The addition of new events plus the return of old favorites will round out the competitions that will be part of the 32nd annual Empire State Winter Games.

Along with the addition of events, the games, which start Feb. 1 and run through Feb. 5, will also feature new venues including Dewey Mountain in Harrietstown as well as Mount Pisgah and Petrova Elementary School in the village of Saranac Lake.

Jim Goff, director of events at the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), said there are several new events that will be part of the games, including nordic combined, short track speed skating and two adaptive programs — alpine skiing and biathlon, which join adaptive cross-country as three events in the discipline.

Goff also announced a pair of events would return to the games in long track speed skating and ski jumping.

“We are excited to see all of these things happening,” Goff said. “The sports and the athletes are the reasons for these games.”

“It is very exciting for the games to be expanding and for the venues to be expanding throughout the region,” ORDA Vice President Jeff Byrne said.

“The kids have that enthusiasm when they come here that this is something special for them,” ESG Organizing Committee head Jim McKenna said. “This is a tradition that we must continue to maintain these facilities.”

Several events will be held at the new sites. Mount Pisgah will host the alpine slalom Friday, Feb. 3 and snowshoe distance races on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Dewey Mountain will host ski orienteering on Saturday, Feb. 4, the same day that Petrova Elementary School will host the snowshoe sprint events.

A total of 16 disciplines will be contested during the multi-day event that concludes Feb. 5.

According to the committee, they are also finalizing several educational and cultural events, modeled after the International Olympic Committee’s new Youth Olympic Games, which seeks to create the well-rounded athlete. These programs — Games firsts — will be held at night in the new Conference Center at Lake Placid, with the specifics to be announced at a later date.

For more information on the 2012 Empire State Winter Games and to register, visit the website www.empirestatewintergames.com.

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