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Lake Placid’s Toboggan Chute opens for season

Satisfy your need for speed at the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

We have been waiting for the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute to open. It’s a winter highlight for my family and one of our “go-to” winter activities for visiting family and friends. Sliding down an icy ramp onto a frozen Mirror Lake is not something people get to do everywhere. It is unusual and pure fun.

The weather has been a bit uncooperative so the Toboggan Chute powers that be, (The North Elba Parks Department) always carefully assess the lake’s ice and post a weekly schedule letting everyone know Mirror Lake is safe for all toboggan riders. Though the Toboggan Chute does have normal evening hours (posted below), currently the North Elba Parks Department will only be opening the chute during the day. I was told that because of the fluctuating temperatures the exit ramp is a bit narrow. It’s perfect for daytime use. Again, it is best to call or check the website for current hours and conditions.

A sign is posted at the ticket booth that sums up most of the rules of the ride. “You must be in good health and free from heart conditions, motion sickness, back or neck problems, or other physical limitations to ride.” It is also suggested that expectant mothers refrain from riding. I know it would be Instagram worthy, but truly no one wants you to give birth while on the Toboggan Chute.

The toboggans come in two sizes that can hold either two or four people at a time depending on their size. There is no age limit. That decision is left to the discretion of the parent. We always waited until our children could walk the ramp by themselves. Dress warmly and don’t wear your fancy clothes. My friend did rip his good ski pants. Yes, there is a warning sign for that. The Toboggan Chute is not responsible for damaged clothes.

It isn’t a long wait to walk up the narrow stairs leading to the 30-foot high platform. The spectating is sometimes just as entertaining as the ride itself. The toboggan is a bit cumbersome, but the ramp has wooden cross pieces every 12 inches or so, providing a bit of a ledge so that the sled has some leverage.

There are two side-by-side chutes available, each manned. The upper platform is protected by clear glass on three sides, providing a nice barrier in order to get situated on the sled. Attendants give clear instructions: keep arms and legs on the toboggan and hang on. Just a nudge to the edge of the ramp is all that is necessary to soon be zipping down the ice track and out onto a frozen Mirror Lake. It’s all laughs or screams depending on the family member. I usuallly just close my eyes and hang on.

The Lake Placid Toboggan Chute is located on Parkside Drive, next to the Lake Placid Public Beach on Mirror Lake Dr. The Toboggan Chute is weather dependent. Regular hours are Fridays, 7 to 9 p.m, Saturdays noon to 4 p.m and 7 to 9 p.m, as well as Sundays, noon to 3 p.m.

Admission for unlimited rides for each time slot is $15/adults and $10/students and children. The toboggan is included with admission. Only cash is accepted and no reservations. The best place for openings, closings, and schedule changes is the North Elba website (northelba.org) and Facebook page. Special hours for Presidents’ Day holidays will be posted there as well.

Enjoy!

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series. For more family-friendly activities go to AdirondackFamilyTime.com