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A new brand, new events, new logo, new website. Welcome to the 2016 Empire State Winter Games (ESWG), set for February 4-7 in the Adirondack region.
Event organizers met at Titus Mountain in Malone, N.Y., a new ESWG venue, on Tuesday, December 1 to unveil plans that have been in discussion for several years and marks a significant turning point in what is already the largest community-supported collection of athletic games in the nation.
The ESWG Organizing Committee is anticipating some 1,700 athletes in 23 sports, including many adaptive athletes.
An Opening Ceremony is planned for Thursday, February 4 at 6 PM in the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, highlighted by a Parade of Athletes. The Opening Ceremony will be preceded by a torch run.
The 2016 edition of the annual event dates back to 1981. It will offer the classicand traditional winter events in the Lake Placid, Wilmington, Tupper Lake, and Paul Smiths Adirondack region.
Before numerous local and regional officials as well as sportsmen, sportswomen and Titus Mountain owners, ESWG representatives also brought forth newly created contemporary competitions at Mount Pisgah in Saranac Lake and Titus Mountain.
"We've thought about this for a while now," said ESWG coordinator James McKenna. "Our group has felt all along that for the Games to reach a new level, and appeal to a new generation of athlete, we had to move in the direction of contemporary, extreme sports. We believe we have done it."
In addition, a total of $12,000 will be awarded to open class medal winners in non-sanctioned events at Mount Pisgah, Titus Mountain, and Whiteface Mountain. Organizers hope this will spur even more participant interest and future growth in these events.
Also, by initiating an aggressive marketing approach, the ESWG is reaching across the border to attract Canadian athletes for the first time in the event's 36 year history.
To facilitate these additional adventure sports, McKenna brought in long-time event organizer and marketer Tait Wardlaw, who made a presentation to the Titus Mountain audience, outlining the scope of these events and races.
The 2016 Games will debut three new winter bike events at Mount Pisgah, as well as a new Big Air competition for skiers and snowboarders at Titus Mountain.
"The sports included represent that that are indigenous to the region and reflect the best of regional passions," said Wardlaw. "Skiers and snowboarders will ride the biggest slopestyle course that this area has ever seen. This is thanks to Titus Mountain's commitment to the Games."
Slopestyle features a variety of diverse features in the snow, ranging fromjumps, to rollers, to tabletops, rails and more. The two Titus Mountain events will be held under the lights in front of the base lodge.
Other ESWG events will include figure skating, speed skating, hockey, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, biathlon, snow shoe racing and more.
Adapted from a December 1 press release from the Empire State Winter Games and ROOST.
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