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Lapland Lake Resort Testimonials

First-Time Cross Country SkiersCross Country Skiing in the Adirondacks

Adirondack Vacation Center > Adirondack Cross Country Skiing > First Time Skiers

So, you're new to the sport of Cross Country Skiing? Welcome! Please allow us offer some helpful information to get you started!

First of all, you’ve come to the right place! You’ve discovered a Touch of Finland in the Adirondacks where, for 37 winter seasons, instructors at Lapland Lake have introduced thousands of children and adults to the wonderful sport of cross country skiing.

You will find our Adirondack Ski Resort a warm, comfortable and friendly place to be. We are large enough to offer every professional service you would expect from our nationally recognized, award-winning cross country ski center but small enough to offer personal, individualized attention. You will find yourself feeling “at home” in no time, and we will go out of our way to ensure all of your needs are met so that you will have a very positive first experience.

Did you know that cross country skiing burns more calories per hour than any other sport - an average of 650 calories per hour? For comparison, fitness cycling averages 540, exercise walking 450 and downhill/alpine skiing 520. The endorphins released with aerobic activity boost your well-being and elevate your mood. Combine that with Lapland Lake's gorgeous southern Adirondack setting and you have the perfect recipe for fitness, health and happiness!

A Bit of History

Olavi Hirvonen was born in Montreal during the Great Depression and, at 8 months of age, was sent to be raised by his grandmother in Finland. He lived through World War II there, and came to the states to rejoin his mother at the age of 18.

During his military service in the United States Army as an instructor for the Arctic Indoctrination School in Alaska, he won the Armed Forces Cross Country Ski Championships. While operating a ski lodge in Vermont for five years, he began training for the Olympics, ultimately earning a place on the 1960 United States Olympic Team in Squaw Valley, California.

Olavi participated in two events, the 15 and 50-kilometer distances.  His better race was the 50-kilometer in which he finished second among the US skiers. His performance was marred by a broken ski which compelled him to proceed approximately a mile on a single ski before he was able to obtain a replacement. He was 29 years of age.

After the Olympics until 1986, Olavi continued to compete occasionally winning numerous regional and state championships. He finished second in the US National Championships in the 30-kilometer distance in 1960 and 1961. In 1962 he won the Maine State Championships, again in the 30km distance. In 1978 he won the NYS Championships in the 15km distance. He also won the 1986 US Masters Championships in the 30km distance. He was the first American to finish in the 30km distance in the 1986 World Masters race. He also placed first in both 1983 and 1985 at the Empire State Games, 15km and 30km distances.

After tragically losing his son Esa in an accident, Olavi held fast to his dream to create and operate a cross country ski center. After months of searching, he found and ultimately purchased, in August of 1978, the property that was to become Lapland Lake.

He and his wife, Ann, were married in 1985. They operate the Adirondack Ski Resort together with a wonderful staff of devoted employees. Their daughter, Leila, is an interior designer at a dynamic architectural firm in NYC. Olavi has another daughter, Elisa, a talented artist, who resides in Princeton, NJ with her husband. They have two wonderful sons.

Story Time

Ann, in the years before she married Olavi (the founder of Lapland Lake and former US Olympic skier who knows a thing or two about cross country skiing), was not a skier.

As a single working woman, Ann owned a home in upstate New York. On a wintry day, quite a bit of snow had fallen - and it took an impressive amount of energy and time to clear her driveway. The grumbling was interrupted by the following thought: "If you don’t like snow, move south. If you're going to remain in the Northeast, find something to enjoy in the winter.”

Ann discovered cross country skiing, learned to look forward to snow falling from the sky, and met and married Olavi. Now, that last part is pretty specific to Ann and Olavi, who have been married nearly 30 years. We don’t expect everyone to experience that kind of fairy tale ending.

But we do guarantee this. If you try cross country skiing, there’s a good chance you’ll learn to love it as we do. And instead of wishing away several months of every year, you’ll come to really love winter and the glittering flakes that fall from the sky!

Clothing

You should dress in light layers for a day of cross country skiing. Clothing suitable for alpine skiing or snowmobiling will be much too warm and bulky for this sport. Cross country skiing is an aerobic sport – you will perspire even in the cold, so dressing appropriately is important. Start with a base layer of long underwear that has a wicking property such as polypropylene (designed to remove moisture from your skin into the fabric where it will evaporate). Follow with an insulating layer (fleece, wool or another fiber which will maintain insulating abilities even when wet and which dry quickly) work well. Finally an outer layer which will repel snow, block wind and allow perspiration to escape and evaporate.

Socks should also be made of a wicking fabric. One pair of mid-weight socks is often enough. On very cold days, you will want to add a liner sock next to your skin for layering warmth. And on a related note, be sure your boots fit properly. You will want about a half-inch of space between your toes and the end of the boot to create an air space for warmth. Improperly fitting boots will be uncomfortable and will make your toes very cold.

A hat is helpful to prevent body heat from escaping. This need not be bulky – many hats on the market are made of fleece or lightweight wool and will do the job nicely. If your body thermostat runs warm, a hat may be more than you need. A headband will protect your ears from the wind and cold. On very bitter cold, windy days, add a neck gaiter for added protection.

Gloves or lobster mitts (picture Dr. Spock with his Vulcan gesture) will offer you the dexterity needed to handle cross country pole straps most easily. Mittens are also fine, but will offer less in the way of dexterity than a glove or lobster mitt. Fabrics should be breathable and waterproof.

Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection should be worn. Make sure yours are intended for sporting use and are shatterproof.

We recommend using sunscreen on all exposed skin. There are products such as Dermatone that protect your skin from the wind and contain sunscreen.

We carry hats, gloves, socks in our Ski Shop. Many sporting goods stores carry clothing that caters to cross country skiers.

Lapland Lake's "Finnish Line" Ski Shop

Lessons

We recommend taking a lesson. It is much easier to learn proper technique from one of our professional instructors instead of heading out on your own and then having to undergo the arduous process of unlearning bad habits. You may call ahead for a lesson reservation: 518-863-4974 or email us. Beginner group lessons are taught daily: on weekends and holidays from 11:15am-12:15pm and from 1:00-2:00pm and on non-holiday weekdays at 11:00am. Beginner lessons for children (ages 5-11) are taught from 11:15am-12:15pm and from 1-2:00pm on weekends and holidays. Private lessons are also offered.

If you need rental equipment, we recommend that you sign up for our money-saving "Ski-Like-a-Finn" Lesson Package. This package offers a savings off items purchased individually and includes your full-day facility use pass, a full-hour lesson and rental equipment for the entire day. Our packages are reasonably priced at $60 for adults, $55 for youth (ages 12-17) and $40 for juniors (ages 5-11).

Ski rental equipment may be exchanged one-time per day for either snowshoes, a tube or a kick sled at no additional cost (highest rental rate prevails). By taking advantage of this offer, you may enjoy two activities for the price of one!

There are plenty of terms used to describe different types of snow conditions. Snow is affected by moisture, temperature and other factors. Terms to describe snow conditions include powder, packed powder, loose and/or frozen granular and wet snow, among others. Some of these conditions are favorable for a first-time ski experience; others are not. When you call to sign-up for a lesson, if the snow conditions are less than favorable for a beginner, we'll encourage you to try another day. We want you to have the very best possible first cross country ski experience.

You're Committed - Now What?

If you don't own ski equipment and need to rent ours, we recommend that you arrive at least 45 minutes prior to your lesson. We are located in the beautiful, easily accessible southern Adirondack Mountains. It is easy to reach us by car or by public transportation.

Directions to Lapland Lake

As you drive in, our courteous ticket cashier will greet you at our ticket booth on the entrance road. This is where you will receive your facility use pass for the day. On non-holiday midweek days, there is no ticket cashier - just park and come into the Finnish Line Lodge to obtain your facility use pass. After parking your car (free of charge), please come to the “Finnish Line” Ski Shop. This is a two-story building with several international flags waving, the US flag along with the flags of the three countries where Nordic skiing originated: Finland, Norway and Sweden. On the first level you will find both retail and rental shops, complimentary trail maps, restrooms and a comfortable lounge with a toasty woodstove and plenty of happy skiers milling about. On the second floor there is a service snack bar (the smaller of our two food service locations), a children’s play area, plenty of comfortable seating, cubbies for your gear, restrooms and a shower with changing area.

After you’ve had an opportunity to look around, please come to the retail-rental counter where we will sign you up for your lesson, give you your instructor’s name and have you complete a rental equipment form. You'll receive a Skier Achievement Card which will be used at the end of your lesson by your instructor to provide feedback regarding what you have learned and where you go from here. This card is good for a hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate at our Tuulen Tupa Grill. Our knowledgeable rental shop staff will first give you ski boots and will make sure they fit you comfortably before issuing skis with bindings and poles. You will meet you instructor right outside the “Finnish Line” – and you’ll be on your way to a fabulous experience learning a wonderful lifelong sport!

Lapland Lake is a PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) Ski School. Our instructors have been carefully selected for their many abilities which include not only superb cross country ski technique but for their interpersonal skills (these folks are truly delightful), and also for their patience, gentle good humor and ability to communicate thoughtfully and clearly. This season we have 15 instructors on staff who have 112 (not a misprint!) combined years’ experience teaching folks just like you how to ski right here at Lapland Lake.

Lapland Lake’s varied terrain is perfect for skiers of every ability level, but beginners are especially pleased to be able to learn on our "green" trails which are flat and gentle - perfect for the first-time experience. Our beginner lessons are a full hour in length and cover all of the basics including how to properly put on equipment (yes, there is a proper way to hold poles), how to move (forward!) on skis, how to fall down and how to get back up. Instructors will work on balance and control so that at the conclusion of the lesson you can head off onto our "green" trails to have fun and practice what you have learned. Other trails are marked "blue" for intermediates "black" for experts and "double diamond" for very expert skiers.

Now I'm Hungry

During your lesson you very likely will work up an appetite! Our Kuuma Tupa Snack Bar is on the second level of the “Finnish Line” Lodge. This quick-stop location is open weekends and holidays offering delicious homemade soup and chili and a variety of microwaveable items, chips, hot and cold beverages including beer.

For a more complete menu, take a leisurely stroll up to our Tuulen Tupa Grill (yellow building overlooking our pond two buildings up from the Lodge) for daily lunch service offering hot and delicious soups and chili, sandwiches, Finnish, vegetarian and grilled foods and fresh baked goods along with wine, traditional glogg (hot mulled wine) and beer.

On Saturdays join us at our Tuulen Tupa Grill for  a relaxing dining experience. Dinner reservations are advised and appreciated. 

And Now You're Part Of The Lapland Lake Family

We hope you will return again and again to enjoy the days of winter with us. There are advanced lessons you can take, reindeer you may visit, a full season-long calendar of events to enjoy including BBQ's, special ladies' days, equipment demo days and more. Periodically throughout the winter season, we offer Saturday evening dinner and snowshoe packages which conclude with a stop by a warming lakeside campfire with s'mores. Perfection!

Linger even longer by staying in one of our cozy, immaculate tupas (housekeeping cottages) featuring fully equipped kitchens, living and dining areas, separate bedrooms, bath with shower, electric heat and toasty woodstove (wood stove supplies and linens are provided). As an overnight guest you are welcome to enjoy our authentic Finnish wood burning sauna, complimentary trail use including nightly skiing, tubing and ice-skating, and discounts on lessons. Massage therapy is even available to sooth weary muscles at day’s end. Our NYS licensed massage therapist will provide massage in the privacy of your tupa (by advance appointment).

We’re so pleased you have found us! We encourage you to sign up for our weekly snow condition email that will provide you with current information about snow conditions, special event and lodging information.

Snow Condition Report

Calendar of Events

Lapland Lake’s Tupas

Rate and Rental Information

In Conclusion

Olavi’s wish was to create a four-season vacation center reminiscent of Finnish Lapland. Nestled against the stunning backdrop of the 6-million acre Adirondack Preserve, Lapland Lake offers a simple and serene setting where family and friends gather for recreation and relaxation and are able to reconnect in a truly fundamental way so often missing in today’s harried times. This very special place enables guests an opportunity to experience the gentle wonders of nature in a warmly hospitable Nordic  atmosphere. We hope all who visit take with them many lasting memories of magical moments.

And it is our hope you will return again and again.

Olavi and Ann extend their friendship to you and offer their warmest welcome to Lapland Lake.

Tavataan ladulla! See you on the trails!


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Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center / Cross Country Skiing & Year Round Adirondack Cabin Rentals

139 Lapland Lake Road :: Northville, NY 12134-3962 (USA)

Tel. 518.863.4974 - Information, Lodging Reservations, Snow Report (8am-8pm)
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