We recently spent our New Year’s Eve with family and went exploring the Schroon Lake region of the Adirondack Park. The snow is here and my Adirondack family is going to enjoy every minute of it. My mother shares stories of my father’s early military career, which at some point involves a campground in Schroon Lake. Of course that means packing up the car and taking a ride along Route 9.
We ask at a local restaurant for campgrounds and are given the names of Scaroon Manor and Eagle Point. Though the road trip is inspired by my mother’s stories, we also want to find some fun trails to snowshoe or a pond to skate upon. We are surprised to find that most of Schroon Lake’s water in unfrozen. This rules out any lake ice-skating and we are not prepared to downhill ski at Gore. Continuing on Route 9 we pass a sign announcing that the free Schroon Lake skiing and sledding hill is open.
We quickly forget all hopes of tracing my father’s footsteps when we see a carload full of children and sleds turning off Route 9. We follow the car, passing the entrance of the Schroon Lake Municipal Golf Course on Hoffman Road and the “Ski Tow” signs through the golf course to the far edge to find a beginner hill with rope tow. The snow is a bit sticky and we didn’t bring our ski gear, but the sledding is perfect.
The car we follow gestures for us to park at the base of the hill. As the kids get ready to sled one parent shares with me that the rope tow and hill to the right is just for skiers and snowboarders while the hill to the left of the rope tow is for sledding. There are even lights on the hill for twilight skiing. It is a popular place. We do not make it to the top of the hill though this same parent shares that the view of Schroon Lake from the top is breathtaking.
The option to sled is the perfect way to let off some steam. With its one run, the ski hill is perfect for beginners or, as my husband points out, a great place to practice those telemark turns. Best of all, it is free.
After a rigorous day of sledding we ditch any further exploration into my father’s past. Though my mother can only relay tidbits of my father’s story, we decide to come back in the summer with more research at hand into his journey in the Adirondack Park.
Photo: Schroon Lake Sledding/Ski Hill by Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time