A highlight of many family winter vacations, the Toboggan Chute in Lake Placid has been in operation since the 1960s. A 30-foot tall converted ski jump trestle sends toboggans down ice-covered chutes onto frozen Mirror Lake. Depending on weather conditions toboggans can travel over 1,000 feet once they reach the frozen lake surface. To ensure the safety of riders only one sled is sent down at a time.
Since a frozen lake surface is essential, the official opening day varies from year to year. You might get lucky with an opening in time for Christmas holiday week or have to wait until February to take a few runs. Generally speaking, the Toboggan Chute tends to open around the first full weekend in January. It’s best to have 10-12 inches of good solid ice to ensure the safety of sledders.
Admission prices allow guests to slide as much as they can during the scheduled time. Toboggans are rented and can hold 2-4 people. During Christmas and President’s week lines are often long and people sometimes have to wait 15-20 minutes between rides. Extended hours are offered during these peak holiday times.
Since this is an outdoor activity, be sure to dress warm, wear winter boots, and not wear expensive ski pants. The friction created during the ride often wears through certain types of skiwear. As with any similar activity, you should be in good health, free from heart conditions, motion sickness, back or neck problems, or any other physical limitations. It is also suggested that expectant mothers refrain from riding.
UPDATE for 2020 – The Toboggan Chute is getting a late start this year. The North Elba is looking to have it running in early February. Check their website for the latest updates – or bookmark this page.