Toboggan Toboggan Times A newsletter for those who ride down icy chutes on bent pieces of wood. Issue

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  • Toboggan Times A newsletter for those who ride down icy chutes on bent pieces of wood.

    · Issue #15 · Write us at 246 Main Street, Lincolnville, Maine 04849 · January 2007

    In This T T T T Toboggan Toboggan Toboggan Toboggan Toboggan Times imes imes imes imes Issue 2006 Nationals Results start on page 4

    Official Chili and Chowder Results, page 10 Letters to the Editor, page 12

    A Modest $2.00

    Equal in Size to Our Biggest Issue Ever!

    See Weather Page 2

    The 2006 Toboggan Nationals Report

    Weather Cuts 16th Annual Nationals Short

    Preparation and Stewart Young save the day

    The committee that runs the Toboggan Nationals made a great call. Not all the calls the Toboggan Committee make are great but this one saved the 2006 Nationals. Because of the weather, they decided to squeeze in two days of racing into one long, brutal Saturday. It was a great call because there wasn’t

    enough ice left on Sunday to do any racing at all.

    Going back to the Friday before the race, Camden had 4” of snow on the ground. By Saturday morning, after the warm winds and the downpours, there was virtually no

    snow and hardly any ice left. But thanks to the diligent work of Stewart Young throughout the week before the race, about 2” of ice was already built up on the chute and covered with plastic – enough to hold the races as long as the ice on the lake held out.

    There were 4 to 10 inches on the lake: enough to support a crowd but not any vehicles. Thin spots were marked with poles. The announcer kept urging spectators not to congregate on the ice. It was slushy with an inch or two of standing water in many places.

    Saturday was very warm. Indeed, temperatures got up to 48 degrees. The winds were calm and the sky

    Our Feature Story

    The Lake Placid Toboggan Chute

    An unexpected rough ride in Upstate NY

    A stud in the snow tire of life by Tom Sadowski

    Driving back to Maine after college hunting in upstate New York with my wife and daughter, it became evident that it wouldn’t be much of a detour to check out the famous Lake Placid Toboggan Chute in, of all places, Lake Placid, New York.

    Heading east on New York’s Highway 11, we turned south at Malone onto Route 30 over strong protests from my daughter who was more interested in getting home than in touring yet another toboggan chute. As we approached New York’s exten- sive Adirondack Park, farmland gave way to forested hillsides and mountain brooks. Rising in elevation, snow cover was still significant, even late in March.

    I was fascinated by the sights and I… well, promptly fell asleep. I am not a great day time driver. I get

    sleepy and I have to turn the driving over to my wife who, incidentally can’t drive very long

    at night which is when I shine. “Wake up.” She instructs.

    “We’re in Lake Placid.” Earlier I had called Pam Lundin, the administrative

    assistant at the Town of North Elba Park

    District Office. (Why the Town of North Elba

    has a district office in what I believe is the Town of Lake

    Placid was never made clear to me). She invited me to drop

    by the office and offered to give me a tour of the toboggan chute

    which is located only a few hundred feet from the office back door. I anxiously awaited a thrill of a lifetime on the ice of Lake Placid, the legendary location for winter sports.

    It was here that the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics Continued on page 6

    PPPPPam L am L am L am L am Lundin P

    undin P undin P undin P undin Pointing t

    ointing t ointing t ointing t ointing to the t

    o the t o the t o the t o the top of

    op of op of op of op of

    the L the L the L the L the Lakakakakake Pe Pe Pe Pe Placid T

    lacid T lacid T lacid T lacid Toboboboboboooooggan C

    ggan C ggan C ggan C ggan Chuthuthuthuthuteeeee


    sunny. Rain and above freezing temperatures were in the forecast for Saturday night and Sunday so the decision was made early on Saturday that the 2006 Championship was to be a one day event. This meant that ranking would be based on the best of two runs for all divisions. This also meant squeezing in over 600 runs on the chute in one day.

    Promptly at 9 AM, after the traditional anthem and flag run, the two person teams started down the chute in earnest.

    The chute ice was hard, stable and smooth but the end of the run out onto the pond had developed a water filled depression that dogged all of the race participants. Officials filled the depression with straw but it only took a few dozen runs to bunch up the straw

    Toboggan Times is published oh, every so often, maybe twice a year, maybe just once, by Local Yokels, a division of Yokels International and is dedicated to maintaining a certain mix of serious racing fervor, a disdain for competitive sports, a rational view of the world and of course, an affinity for the bizarre, absurd, and amusing behavior of humans. Subscriptions are not really available. It's all we've got to get this piece out let alone maintain a mailing list and keep track of who has or hasn't paid. If you send us some money, you might get a copy. Or maybe not.

    ©2006, 2007 Yokels International Publisher and Editor: Tom Sadowski Proufreading: “Blind” Janis Kay Data Entry and Stuff: Laine Sanderson Write to us at 246 Main Street, Lincolnville, Maine 04849-9759. Don't try to call

    us and we won't try to call you. Better yet, E-Mail Tom Sadowski at: or, get this, if it's up and running, visit our Web Site.

    Fat chance that we’ll ever have a web site. Well there is actually more chance of doing a web site than another paper issue. We just can’t afford this any more.

    WeatherFrom Page 1 and expose the cold water. Tobog- gans would hit the puddle and a plume of water would rise just as it does in Disney World when the log ride hits the water at the end of the jaunt. All riders got sprayed, some were splashed, many were hosed and a few that fell off their toboggans were thoroughly soaked.

    There was no lunch break. This was the 2nd year that the new chute loading system, devised by David Dickey was being employed. Teams approached the chute from the top and then utilize both sides of the loading area. There were always teams ready to get onto the chute. Any bugs in the system had been worked out in 2005 when the method was inaugurated.

    Dickey and crew kept pushing toboggans down the chute at the average rate of 79 sleds per hour. The last 4 person sled took to the chute around 5:30 PM in near darkness. The timekeepers declared that 673 runs were timed for Saturday’s races.

    The warm Saturday night finished off the lake and chute ice. It was a good call by the Toboggan Committee.

    With the balmy weather, teams waiting to load onto the chute didn’t have to hunker down against the cold. There was a definite party atmosphere especially among the teams from Unity College. The contingent from College of the Atlantic also deserves an honorable mention in the party category.

    Web Page Update OK, we admit that The Toboggan Times has been very negligent

    in our effort to get out on the web. It’s becoming obvious that if we don’t get out there, this will probably be the last issue of the Times. Printing this rag isn’t getting any cheaper and what’s the point anyway? This is work -and isn’t the web just more work? I mean besides the hundred million people who have web sites out there, who’s got the time? (See article on page 12 for more web ranting.)

    We shall see, the future of the Toboggan Times is in the balance. As before, for a good time while you wait for the website, make

    sure you have the latest Flash plug in and go to:

    Although up for 238 hours straight tending to the chute ice, Stewart Young manages to stand by his post and dispatch almost 700 sleds down the chute in one day. Please tip him generously next time he sends you down.

    Exposed to the elements, ignored and abused by the Toboggan Committee, David Dickey does his part at the head of the chute to make the 2006 Nationals a success. You would think the committee would accept his valuable input, recognize his value and at least send him a free lunch. Fat chance. If you don’t see him running the race in 2007, you will know there is trouble in Tobogganland. Some calls by the committee aren’t so good.


    snapped it up. “After all”, Horovitz explains, “President Bush wasn’t about to use it.”

    This year they had only the two 4-Person teams and “One and a half sleds”. The team was building a new toboggan but kept breaking slats so they were forced to go with their old sled which they were not at all planning to run.

    Asked to describe the toboggan, Horovitz declares it “Adirondack style” without hesitation. This must refer in some obtuse way to the lawn furniture popular in that part of the country. “It’s a 12 footer made from a 5 footer”, he explains. “Steve [Pixley] and Austin [Matheson] did the woodwork”.

    Pixley adds that the original was a 40 year old Adirondack sled but now it is a three runner sled. He feels that flat bottom sleds are better for warm days but the ice was in good shape, and they had no other sleds.

    As for a strategy, Horovitz says that the team used to wait as long as they could, now they try to get down the chut