If people have got work during the hunting season, it's a real burden," said Ronald MacKenzie, one of the Lake Placid oldtimers, who are called North Country Boys.
MacKenzie's got work. He's president of the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1980 Winter Games and although it's hunting season and he has two boats to get out of the water, MacKenzie, 74, sits at a desk in this town of 2,700 and deals with the 50 odd federal and state agencies involved in Olympic planning.
It's a self-imposed burden and some of MacKenzie's fellow citizens wonder why the North Country Boys have worked since 1954 for the right to host a 12-day TV megaspectacle.
A lot of them enjoy Lake Placid's pace - crowded with summer vacationers July through Labor Day and peaceful enough the rest of the year for natives to concentrate on hunting or winter sports. "I liked Lake Placid the way it was," says Matthew Clark, the town clerk.
The North Country Boys, however, see the Olympics for their one-stop-light town bordering two shining lakes in the Adirondacks. "Not only do we get that," said Luke Patnode, referring to the United States' second refrigerated 400-meter speed-skating oval nearing completion here, "we get to keep them all."
"We're better known in Europe than we are in the United States," Patnode says, but the North Country Boys are out to fix that by proving that Lake Placid and the winter Olympics go together as well as North Country Boys and hunting.
If Lake Placid is well known in Europe, it's because of the Olympics it hosted in 1932 and its six attempts to repeat a host for the Winter Games. Year after year, the International Olympic Committee appeared to be looking for any excuse to bypass Lake Placid until in 1974 it ran out of alternatives. Lake Placid was the only bidder and the Olympic delegates - who had been used to being wooed with Japanese cultured pearls and other come-ons - had no choice but to bestow their prize on the North Country Boys whom sophisticates had looked on as country bumpkins.
In 1932, Lake Placid had 2,930 residents, 200 more than it has today. Then, as now, it was a depressed area.
And, then, as now, the games brought problems. Even the modest games of 1932 cost about $1.2 million, Lake Placid residents remembers bumper-to-bumper jams on the village street, which is named Main Street. People lined up for hours to get a seat in a restaurant and some slept in their cars, even surviving thanks to a thaw.
In 1980, 51,700 tickets will be sold for each of the 12 Olympic days and if the temperature is normal for mid-February, it will be 10 degrees during the day. But because few plans for new lodging have been made, many spectators will have to travel from hotel rooms as far away as Montreal and Albany each day, making 230-mile round trips of six hours or more on icy roads.
But, North Country Boys repeatedly point out, the 1932 games also put Lake Placid on the world's sporting map and brought huge increases in tourism, without which Lake Placid would have remained a wide place in the road.
For a tiny village accessible only over three two-lane roads unchanged from 1932, Averell Harriman labeled them deer trails on his first visit as governor, he avoided them by flying to the small airport on his second visit, hosting the Olympics presents special problems that have given rise to unusual solutions.
The athletes will be the first occupants of a new federal prison. A high school playing field has been turned into the refrigerated 400-meter oval. The high school will close and become the Olympic media center. The town hall is being renovated and, until the games, will serve as headquarters for Olympic organizers.
And these Olympics, says marketing deputry director Bernie Trembly Jr., are designed to be "the first Olympics in a long time when the bottom line isn't in brackets."
It will take successful commercial marketing of the five-ring Olympic symbol on merchandise ranging from expensive jewelry to pencil boxes - such commercialism is being permitted for the first time in the United States - and the tieins with business sponsors to realize the hopes of an Olympics without debt.
Coca-Cola is already the official soft drink. Kodak, Canon Camera, the Irving Trust Co., Ford motors and Schlitz beer are all close to singing on, Trembly said.