Toboggan Chute opens for season in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID — As North Elba Park District employee Lee Jopling was shoveling several inches of fresh snow off the ice slides near the top of the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute Friday morning, a woman standing on the Parkside Drive sidewalk shouted a question to him.

“Are you guys going to be open tonight?” she said.

The answer was yes. After spells of warm weather prevented the Mirror Lake ice from thickening to the required 12 inches for safety, the popular attraction was expected to finally open for the season on Friday evening. Presidents Day is Monday, and a lot of visitors are coming into town for the holiday week. Last year, the Toboggan Chute opened for the season on Feb. 5.

“We’ve received a lot of calls coming for Presidents weekend, and people are excited that we’re almost there,” North Elba Park District Manager Matt St. Louis said Friday morning while spraying the two slides with water to build up the ice.

Presidents week is one of three big holiday times in the winter for Lake Placid businesses that rely on tourist traffic for their survival. The others are the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. While Tri-Lakes schools are in session during Presidents week — so they can take a two-week spring break — many other school districts around New York and other states have Presidents week off, and families travel to Lake Placid to enjoy the ice and snow.

This is one of several signs at the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute. (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

“We get a lot of calls,” St. Louis said. “A lot of times, it’s tourists that are coming up. They see it through any advertisements for the town and what to do, and they want to make sure coming here that they might have an opportunity. Unfortunately, with this odd weather we’ve had this winter, we’ve had to break some hearts for people coming here with their kids with CAN/AM (hockey) and whatnot.”

After parking on Parkside Drive or somewhere nearby, visitors walk down a small hill to a shack on the ice, where they pay for admission and receive a toboggan big enough for four people. Then they walk to the top of the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute and sit down on their sled, where they are pushed down a slide by one of the Park District workers to the Mirror Lake ice below. Lights allow the attraction to be open during the evening.

“It’s fun when this place is open,” St. Louis said.

The holiday hours this week are noon to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. today through Saturday, Feb. 24; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25.

On Feb. 24, all proceeds for the evening session will be donated to the Lake Placid Lions Club, which promotes its annual fundraiser as “toboggan races.”

This is one of several signs at the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute. (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

“They call it races, but we don’t race,” St. Louis said. “It’s a benefit for them, and we donate the day for them.”

When the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute opened at this site in 1965, there were races there for decades. The current chute opened in February 2017, replacing the old structure, an old ski jump from the Lake Placid Club that was converted into a toboggan chute and had to be torn down in 2016 due to structural problems.

Signs posted along the hand railing down to the ice provide safety tips for visitors.

“Ride at your own risk,” one sign warns. “This is a bumpy ride. Do NOT ride if you have any of the following.”

¯ Back problems

¯ Spine problems

¯ Heart conditions

¯ Pregnancy

¯ Recent surgery

Another sign warns people about the clothing they should wear while riding a toboggan.

“Due to friction when sliding down the toboggan slide, some types of nylon ski pants may wear through. We recommend durable pants such as jeans. We are not responsible for damaged pants!”

Admission is $10 for students and $20 for adults and includes a toboggan and unlimited rides per session.

The Lake Placid Toboggan Chute is a weather-dependent attraction; therefore, if temperatures get too warm, it may not open.

It is best to check the Toboggan Chute webpage on the town of North Elba website — http://tinyurl.com/t7zv353y — or the town’s Facebook page for any updates.


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