|ROCKING IT– Seemed like a good idea at the time- Larry Olson, Tad Langlois, Jim and Mike Holland, Kurt Stein, and Jason Posmer prepare to walk across the bottom of Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY|
Ford Sayre Ski Club, USST, ’84 and ’88 Olympian
In the late 80s, Lake Placid’s Olympic Training Center rented rooms for athletes at the Lake Placid Club, along the east shore of Mirror Lake. The OTC prepared and served meals at the Boathouse ¼ mile down Mirror Lake Drive.
After one especially hot jumping session we began walking from the Lake Placid Club toward the Boathouse for lunch. Back then, almost everything became a competition (you had to watch out for the ever-so-coordinated Tad Langlois, he won most challenges). At the water’s edge, I spotted several volley ball sized rocks and said, “Hey, let’s see who can walk the farthest underwater carrying one of those rocks.” A swim before lunch was appealing after hiking up the K90 inrun in our winter suits. All accepted the challenge and lined up in waist deep water wondering what we would encounter in the oozy muck and dark depths of Mirror Lake (note the nervous grins in photo above).
“One, two, three, go” we counted as we held our breath and ran forward holding our slimy rocks. My strategy to beat Tad Langlois was to hold my rock in front of me as I sprinted under water (technique in photo below). I remember feeling quite pleased as this approach allowed me to cover the first 20 feet of the lake bottom quickly. Suddenly, the bottom dropped away steeply and thoughts of “I got this” switched to “Woah, I can’t believe how steep it is here.” At 25 feet down I thought, “OMG, I can’t believe how cold it is.” What started as a harmless challenge began to feel foolish and risky as we approached 30 ft in depth. At 35 ft it was so dark that the only person I could see was brother Jim to my left. In Jim’s typical competitive, humorous style, he shifted his rock to his left hand and flipped me the bird with his right. This caught me by surprise and caused me to laugh, blowing out my last bit of precious air. I dropped my rock and swam, in a panic, to the surface. Brother Jim surfaced shortly thereafter, the farthest from shore. At least, for once, Tad Langlois didn’t win!
|“Perfect” water walking technique. Note shin angle and rock positioned well in front of the body.|
|SKI JUMPERS ROCKING IT. Former OTC dining hall- the Boathouse- in the background.|