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 Courses

We were given permission to use this post card from the 1980 Winter Olympic Games that were held in Lake Placid and at 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 from the comments below and posted them in our guide. If you’ve got relevant information the 1980 Whiteface Olympic downhill, slalom or grand slalom course, please post a comment below.

For more on Whiteface see our profile and history of the mountain.

11 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.


    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?

    Tyler Jankoski

  9. One of my last downhills was at Whiteface in 1979, an Eastern Regional event with some national team members and a couple of Krazy Kanadians sitting in. At age 32, I raced as a “senior” (formerly “veteran”) racer, and started right after Brooks Dodge, who was pushing fifty and a survivor of the ’52 and ’56 games.

    Brookie was working with Yamaha, testing skis, and stayed across the hall from me at the Whiteface Chalet. I don’t know if this relationship traced back to his friendship with his Dartmouth teammate Chiharu Igaya, the Olympic silver medalist in slalom in 1956, but I remember the afternoon he reported to the Yamaha chaser on that day’s disappointing training run. The chaser moved to put the skis through the lodge’s bandsaw. Brookie objected; the chaser cut up the skis nonetheless to send them back to Japan. “Ski no good!” he explained.

    We were essentially cannon fodder, to see if the course was safe, and it was. A few control gates were moved for the Olympic race, mostly to keep less skilled racers from non-Alpine countries from killing themselves. From what I learned later, US team racers resisted these changes, bombing the two headwalls and saying “Couldn’t make the turn!” in order to get Niagara and Victoria speeded up.

    Dave’s account of the sections involved, above, is essentially correct, but I also have to point out that sections such as Easy Street, Boreen, and the Valve House Bump were in play in either men’s or women’s Olympic races. My biggest disappointment in watching the men’s race on TV was seeing Ken Read shock out before he even got to Dynamite Corner. I had been sure he would win, as he owned that track to a degree as great as Andy Mill or Doug Powell.

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