High Peaks Cyclery
Hooked for Life
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