LAKE PLACID–The Lake Placid Olympic Oval, which in the past has served as a training venue for Olympic champions like Charles Jewtraw and Jack Shea, has also helped develop more recent speed skating champions like Apolo Anton Ohno, Shani Davis, Trevor Marsicano, and others before they moved on to the US Team. Now, after training at the Lake Placid Oval for several years, Lake Placid High School graduate Esther Munoz has made the next step in her training: a move to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she can train on the famous indoor Olympic Oval surrounded by elite skaters and coaches.

“I wanted to move to Salt Lake City because I wanted to be able to have access to an oval early on in the skating season, and also wanted to be surrounded by the National team.”

Lake Placid’s oval is a beautiful outdoor venue that continues to be used for races (including the US Long Track Age Group Nationals this season) and as a public speed skating and leisure skating facility. But, as the National and International competitive schedule has become more demanding, starts earlier in the season, and meets are held mainly on indoor tracks, it is considered the best course of action for aspiring elite skaters to train indoors. Not only is the ice available for training earlier than in outdoor rinks, but ice conditions can be controlled and skaters don’t have to battle rough ice, wind, or other elements as they would outdoors.

“I know that when I’m skating outside, my technique hurts a little bit because you’re trying to fight the wind and the weather. I don’t think about riding my skates, I think about just stepping and using everything I have to fight through that wind. But in indoor, you feel the glide, you can feel your edges better and concentrate more on your technique because you’re not trying to fight the wind and the weather. So you actually have to learn how to ride your skates longer, and think about pushing through your hips more.”