High Peaks Cy­clery

Hooked for Life

SkiTrax - - Gear Test - By Ron John­son

Res­cu­ing floun­der­ing Nordic skiers and giv­ing them an im­promptu les­son, whether on the snow or in the aisles of his Lake Placid, N.Y. store, is one of Brian De­laney’s favourite pas­times.

“One of the big­gest prob­lems over the years is that peo­ple would buy a cross-coun­try-ski set-up and just go out and snow­shoe with their cross-coun­try skis, and you’d see them out on the trail, arms out to the side and just walk­ing along,” he says. “My wife and I are true be­liev­ers that if you take a les­son and learn, you’ll be a life­long fan. So we of­ten stop and just give them a les­son right then and there. I’ve done that so many times – why? Be­cause I’m pre­serv­ing the sport for the fu­ture, you know.”

De­laney and his wife, Karen, moved to Lake Placid af­ter fall­ing in love with the Adiron­dack town dur­ing the Win­ter Olympics in 1980. The cou­ple opened High Peaks Cy­clery in 1983, a year af­ter they were mar­ried. Since that time, High Peaks has evolved from a guid­ing com­pany of­fer­ing tours in the beau­ti­ful moun­tain­ous re­gion to be­com­ing more of a lo­cal land­mark and one-stop multi-sport shop for ad­ven­ture trav­ellers and lo­cal res­i­dents alike.

At the re­tail com­plex, cus­tomers will find an in­cred­i­ble ar­ray of top­notch out­door-sports gear for all sea­sons. There is also a rock-climb­ing gym, a fit­ness and yoga stu­dio and much more. There are three build­ings close by that are home to lodg­ing, guid­ing and tour ser­vices through High Peaks Moun­tain Ad­ven­tures.

Cross-coun­try ski­ing and cy­cling are the two main­stays at High Peaks, but the busi­ness con­tin­ues to evolve in new and cre­ative ways, mov­ing into boat­ing (kayaks, ca­noes and stand-up pad­dle­boards), as well as fish­ing in re­cent years. The core ac­tiv­i­ties con­tinue to be road cy­cling, moun­tain bik­ing, rock climb­ing and camp­ing in the sum­mer and alpine and cross-coun­try ski­ing in the win­ter. With the con­tin­ued ex­pan­sion of lodg­ing and the abil­ity to house a lit­tle more than 30 peo­ple in a shared fa­cil­ity con­nected with a large deck, the De­laneys have grown their group-tour busi­ness, of­ten host­ing lo­cal clubs and high school and univer­sity teams (in­clud­ing sim­i­lar groups from Ot­tawa, Montreal and other out­door en­thu­si­asts in East­ern Canada).

“Over the last 15 years, we’ve re­ally been amp­ing up the whole lodg­ing com­po­nent and the guide ser­vice,” ex­plains De­laney. “The beauty is that ev­ery­thing is right out our front door. Within two min­utes or so, we can be some­where epic.”

Lake Placid is a charm­ing vil­lage on the shores of Mir­ror Lake in the Adiron­dack Re­gion that has be­come a four-sea­son sports des­ti­na­tion for nearby Cana­di­ans as well. In the win­ter, the fo­cus is on alpine ski­ing, with White­face Moun­tain of­fer­ing the high­est ver­ti­cal in the East, as well as Nordic ski­ing in renowned ar­eas such as Mount Van Ho­even­berg, which opened to host the Olympic cross-coun­try and biathlon events in 1980 and of­fers 50 kilo­me­tres of groomed trails and the only snow­mak­ing sys­tem at a cross-coun­try fa­cil­ity in the re­gion.

Other lo­cal favourites of note in­clude cross-coun­try ski­ing in the vast High Peaks Wilder­ness Area as well as the trail sys­tem around the

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