Last month, my husband and I took a weekend getaway to Lake Placid, NY. While I have driven past there numerous times, it was the first time visiting the Village. As you can see from the incredible background behind me, the scenery is majestic. The lake in the picture is actually Mirror Lake, not Lake Placid, and its name is certainly fitting. The water is so serene that it looks like glass. Off in the distance stands Whiteface Mountain, which reaches a height of 4,867 feet – making it the fifth tallest mountain in the U.S. The mountain hosted the alpine skiing competition of the 1980 Winter Olympics.

As you can see, during our trip we were surrounded by Mother Nature in all of her glory. I felt like every scenic view was more breathtaking than the last. It was a reminder of the natural resources we have close to home and the beauty and sustainability of natural stone. While the rock of Whiteface Mountain isn’t quarried, not too far away are mountains that are, such as Vermont Quarries’ Danby quarry, which holds the title of the largest underground marble quarry in the world. At the moment, Lake Placid Village is under construction. It was nice to see though that natural stone pavers are being installed for the sidewalks down the main street. With the Adirondack landscape so prominent in the area, it is only appropriate to use a natural material such as stone.

Another takeaway from my trip to Lake Placid relates to the labor shortage issue, which is often the subject of many conversations. I just returned from our Stone Summit in Austin, TX, where the discussion once again came up. In Lake Placid, the spirit of the Olympics is everywhere. Locals proudly tell stories of when the Olympics were held there, and the training facilities for winter sports are still used today. My husband and I were lucky to see the U.S. ski team practicing the long jump while we were there. It was incredible to watch how talented and fearless the skiers are, but we were even more amazed when we saw them up close and realized how young they are – most looked like they were teenagers. We had the opportunity to speak with one young athlete from Salt Lake City, UT. My husband asked her how she first got started with something like this. She told us it was introduced to her in elementary school. There is a program where interested students can learn and practice these types of winter sports at their local ski mountain. What a novel idea? Introducing something to young minds where they can learn correct techniques and master skills that they can turn into their profession later in life. This reminded me of how it has been brought up to introduce the trades, such as fabrication, installation, etc. to students in high school and make these programs a part of technical schools. The more awareness that is created can only benefit the trades. I understand it takes time and resources to implement these programs, and this isn’t some new idea. I just thought I’d share my story as a reminder of one, the beauty of natural stone, and two, the need to educate our younger generation of opportunities available that can help better serve our industry.