Saturday, February 17, 2024

Discussion time: Winter pastimes

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As we’ve seen, this winter has been a letdown in the snow department. What favorite winter activities are you missing?

In happier news, Dick Monroe passed along this news that the toboggan chute in Lake Placid has reopened. He writes “We used to have a lot of fun there when I was a kid, lots of great memories of that toboggan run.”

So in that spirit, share your memories of winter fun from years past!

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Melissa is a journalist with experience as a reporter and editor with the Burlington Free Press, Ithaca Journal and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She worked as a communications specialist for the Adirondack North Country Association and is currently digital editor for Adirondack Explorer, overseeing both the Explorer's website and its community forum the Adirondack Almanack. She enjoys hiking, camping and other outdoors activities, and spending time with her husband, their twin daughters, and rescue animals -- two dogs and two cats.

2 Responses

  1. louis curth says:

    Okay Melissa, I guess the verdict is in: Almanack readers prefer comments that are fun to those discussing what to do about the self-serving miscreants who are eroding democracy, or remedies that might help us restore America’s tarnished image of power-to-the-people.

    That said, it’s full speed ahead on the Titanic toward our modern version of that most famous pre-climate change iceberg! Strike up the band! Let’s all have fun!!

    FUN: My favorite memories of winter fun would have to include time spent as a teenager in and around Pottersville back in those formative times. There was no Northway yet; travel was slower over Rt. #8 & #9 with lots of slipping, sliding and dodging log trucks. Road sanding & salting were used much more sparingly.

    Our Adirondack schools were less homogenized, but everybody came out evenings to see the local school basketball heroes play. Around Christmas, the kids walked door-to-door around Pottersville homes singing carols for handouts of cake or cookies. Some weekends the kids might gather on the frozen meadow across from Schmidt’s riding stable, if he plowed the ice off. Word would spread fast, hand-me-down ice skates would get dug out, and soon the kids would be out there skating, barrel jumping (without the barrels) flirting and warming up around an impromptu campfire on the ice. No adults were anywhere around.

    When you got home, if you wanted to socialize, you waited your turn for access to our primitive version of social media – the party-line telephone system. Otherwise, there was limited – to none – TV, and fair radio reception with rock and roll usually able to be heard. Was it fun? We thought so…

  2. Well Melissa, I held off on commenting to give others a chance. I have so many winter fun memories from years past, for the time being I think I’ll just list them: #1: Waxing our family’s toboggan in preparation for races down the run in Lake Placid. The contest always was whose sled went furthest out onto the ice. #2: I don’t recall whether it was a school trip or cub scouts, but I will always remember the day we went down the Olympic bobsled run. I remember the announcer. I think we started up above Shady. #3: I remember going sliding with friends. That was one of our primary winter social activities. It was either Schroeder’s Hill, or almost daily, carpenter’s Hill across the street from the Stevenson Lane house I grew up in. we used to build jumps out of snow. we’d go down & get airborne. Those on the sidelines would use the sledders as snowball throwing (or even once frozen horse manure) targets. One time on a hill in Placid, older kids iced the hill, I went down on a runner sled, couldn’t steer, hit a tree, broke my collar bone. #4: We spent hours building elaborate snow forts in our side yard, where my mom’s garden was, later Dad built the garage that’s in that spot now. We had neighborhood snowball fights in those forts. #5: We all had skates, Wamsganz’s and Hicksons up the street both had their own ice hockey rinks. We’d play ice hockey on them when invited, street hockey on Stevenson Lane when not. It’s funny, when I watch the movie “Wayne’s World”, the scene where they are playing street hockey always stokes that memory. #6: My brother & I would put our skates around our neck & walk through town, up Lapan Highway, to skate at the school rink. Before that, when we still lived in Lake Placid, I’d skate on the Olympic Oval. One day there I tried to do a fancy skating move, fell on my head & got a concussion (the 1st of many). #7: I remember my high school buddies & I sneaking into the Olympic Arena to watch the skaters practice. One time we sat there watching a really famous skater, i want to say it was Peggy Fleming. #8: There was this snowball throwing kid known as “Sharpshooter”. I won’t go into further detail here. He may still have warrants. #9: I remember once in college hiking with several friends up into the Cabin at Colden on winter break. we snowshoed in, “cross country Ski’d out”, though it was more of a steep tree avoiding downhill. I recall none of us being great skiers, so our strategy was that when things got too hairy, we just bailed out & crashed intentionally into the snow. #10: And of course, last but far from least, I remember two “Olympic Outlaws” walking the tracks (right where the rail trail route is now) with our shotguns, snowshoe rabbit hunting, until the day we crossed the highway in Ray Brook during our month-long Winter Olympic school break & a State Trooper with a booming voice gave one command: “FREEZE!”

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