Lake Placid Toboggan Chute expected to open this weekend
LAKE PLACID — Even with the rain today, the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute on Mirror Lake is expected to open this weekend in time for the busy Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, according to officials at the North Elba Park District.
If all goes well the rest of the winter, it would be the chute’s first full season since being installed a year ago.
Park District staff have been preparing the chute for the season and clearing off snow from the ice in front of the beach house for outdoor hockey rinks. They’ve also cleared off the skating path around the perimeter of Mirror Lake.
As of Wednesday, North Elba Park District Manager Butch Martin reported that the ice was between 8 and 10 inches thick. That’s enough to open the toboggan chute; however, the rain Thursday night and today may delay the projected opening of Saturday.
“If we can go on Saturday, we’ll go on Saturday,” Martin said. “If not, we’ll go on Sunday.”
The National Weather Service is calling for rain today and a high near 52 degrees. Then rain will turn to freezing rain, sleet and snow tonight with a low around 9. New snow and sleet accumulation of 2 to 4 inches is possible overnight and an additional 2 to 4 inches of snow is possible Saturday, with temperatures falling to 3 degrees by 5 p.m. and a low of around -14 Saturday night.
It’s this mixed bag of precipitation that will have Park District staff busy preparing the ice at the bottom of the toboggan chute Saturday. Their progress will depend on how much rain Lake Placid gets today.
If all goes well, the hours this holiday weekend for the toboggan chute will be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday through Monday.
Regular season hours are noon to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. The cash-only prices are $5 for students and $10 for adults. That includes a toboggan. No reservation is necessary.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend is traditionally the opening weekend for the toboggan chute, but not just because it is one of the biggest tourism weekends in Lake Placid, according to Martin.
“For some reason, historically, this is about the time the water under the ice gets freezing cold,” Martin said.
This will be the first full season of the new toboggan chute since the town decided in the summer of 2016 to tear down the old slide after decades of use rusted away at its structure. The old slide had been converted into a toboggan chute from a Lake Placid Club ski jump in 1965.
The new chute, built by Jeffords Steel in Plattsburgh, was erected last winter and opened for the first time on Feb. 11, 2017; however, messy and slushy ice conditions limited its operation to just a handful of days.