Whiteface Olympic Ski Courses (1980)

Most New York skiers know that Whiteface was the Olympic mountain in 1980, but many haven’t actually considered which runs were used for specific events. It’s logical to assume that Cloudspin and Skyward were used for the Olympic Downhill courses, but beyond that many are vague on the details.

Whiteface Olympic Runs

We were given permission to use this post card from the 1980 Winter Olympic Games that were held at Lake Placid and Whiteface. It came with no description. We thought it would be a simple matter to match the graphic up with a current Whiteface trail map to determine what trails had been used for each event.

However it was not that easy. We’ve crowdsourced the information below, with input from the comment. If you’ve got definitive answers about which events were held on which trails, please post a comment below.


  • Men’s Downhill: Cloudspin – Niagara
  • Ladies Downhill: Upper Skyward
  • Men’s Slalom: Approach – Wilderness
  • Ladies Slalom: Approach – Wilderness
  • Mens GS: Upper Parkway – Lower Parkway
  • Ladies GS: Upper Thruway – Lower Thruway

10 comments on “Whiteface Olympic Ski Courses (1980)

  1. My father-in-law was the starter for the womens DH at the 1980 Olympics. He still wears his Olympic Starters jacket from time to time. You’d think he won the Olympics when he wears it.

  2. There are piles of video clips on youtube from the 1980 hockey games, but I couldn’t find any skiing footage, preferably from the men’s or women’s downhill. Can anyone help?

  3. Face oughta hold runs on the old courses from time to time, sorta like NASTAR. If they advertised it, it could be a customer magnet. People would get a kick trying to see what times they could achieve.

  4. Snowballs… thanks for the heads up. Any help is welcome. Send me a link, or post it in the forum. I think I’ve got the top part of the downhills right, I’m just not sure what happens at the bottom. Hard to believe either downhill ended on easy street. Sounds like the solution might lie with Kdad. Point him our way!

  5. Yea. I remember the map being much as you created but the bottom does seem different on the DH.

  6. Hi, We just went to Lake Placid last Sunday for Super Sunday, only $35. Anyway It was Clea’s first time and we had over 36 inches of nice light power so we skied the Men’s downhill course, or at least what I thought was it. I just did a google search and found this blog and also the Sports Illustrated issue from Feb. 11 1980. It has just what you are looking for. Turn to Page 87 & 88. It has full coverage and a detailed section by section breakdown of the course. Enjoy!

  7. Mens:

    DH- Riva Ridge (some called it Hurricane Alley), Cloudspin, Niagara, Victoria, Broadway, Lower Valley..

    GS- Conflicting reports here. I’ve heard Parkway for both runs, but I also have a book about the 1980 games that said one run on Parkway and another on Thruway

    SL- Your list says Wilderness, but I’ve heard Mountain Run was used.

    Women’s:

    DH – Skyward (I’ve read the start was close to first connecting trail w/Cloudspin, about a third of the way down the top), Easy Street, Boreen, Ladies Bridge, Lower Valley.

    GS- Thruway

    SL – Again, I’ve heard Mountain Run.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Hello!

    I’m trying to put together something cool for my apartment, since I skied Whiteface for several years when I was living nearby and love Upper Skyward. Is there a higher resolution version of this postcard file someone could send to me?

    Thanks!
    Tyler Jankoski

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