For non-skiers vacationing in Lake Placid, a gondola is a much friendlier approach than riding a chairlift. Certainly would be warmer during the winter. One reason a friend who is an avid skier with a non-skiing husband goes to LP for Thanksgiving is that he likes the town. So he's willing to help do the driving from Philly.
I got my friend's husband to ride the Whiteface gondola during a fall colors trip. With his fear of heights, no way would he ever ride a chairlift. He really enjoyed being up on the mountain with his wife and kids. Likes hiking, and wanted to hike up to the summit but they didn't have time. We did hike up enough to get a pretty good sense of the pitch and for a different view than is possible right where the gondola unloads.