UPHPHLANDIA, according to legend, was created by a smart-alecky nun.
Sister Joan and Father Jim were chaplains at the University of Rochester in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Fans of the skinny ski, but new to New York state, one of them had asked Victor, a Swiss priest studying at the university, if he knew of any good cross country ski spots in the area.
Father Victor told them to visit Lake Placid - and they did, again and again, each time taking with them several parishioners.
In 1980, Jim and Joan and company came up to Lake Placid the week before the village closed down to accommodate the Olympic Winter Games.
“There were all these reporters all over all these venues, where the first teams to arrive were practicing," recalled Ruth Maier “When one reporter finished interviewing a cross country team from somewhere, out at Mount Van Hoevenberg, someone from our group piped up, 'No one has interviewed US yet!'
The reporter asked. 'Where are you from?’
Joan said 'Uphphlandia,’ and that's where it all started.
They came back to the hotel that night and made up their first map.
That spawned the series of annual outings that in 1997 drew 85 people and in 2018 more than 200 ranging from singles and parents to retirees.
Some people don't ski at all while some work jigsaw puzzles, play cards or other games, enjoy shopping in the area, visit Kate Smith's tomb or just about anything they want in the High Peaks Region of the great Adirondack Park of upstate New York.
The group has it's annual winter gathering at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Lake Placid and a summer picnic somewhere around the Rochester area. At the winter gathering in LP, we sing our national anthem set to the tune of Beethoven's Ode To Joy on the way to the evening meal.
According to Ken Georger in the 1997 Rochester Democrat & Chronicle from which this [editorialized] article was obtained, "It's like a bunch of kids going to summer camp. There [are] no meetings the rest of the year and we have no officers. Everybody is just as nuts as the other guy and nobody cares."
To read more about the group, click here to visit the Docs page.
Note and apologies to readers: There are many misspellings in the above extracted text from the original D&C article above because there are no "f"s in the Uphphlandian language.
The original article was written by Carol Ritter and published in the 31 Jan 1997 edition of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.