LOWVILLE North country residents dont need to search long for a decent sledding hill theres no shortage of steep, snow-filled public terrain in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties during the winter.
But if youre looking for a change from your regular neighborhood sledding spot, the Maple Ridge Center tubing park in Lowville is a must visit.
Maple Ridge, entering its sixth season of existence, is owned by the Adirondack Mennonite Camping Association, the same organization that owns and operates Beaver Camp, a popular camping and retreat center in Lowville.
The tubing hill is part of a larger snow park that includes a cross-country ski area.
Beaver Camp Executive Director Keith Zehr said Maple Ridge is the largest and fastest tubing hill that is inspected by the New York State Department of Labor.
Its hard to think my job includes something like this tubing hill, said David Nisley, Beaver Camps media and outreach director, who is one of the hills primary caretakers. Its just 13 lanes of awesomeness.
Each lane is 1,200 feet long, with a vertical drop of about 100 feet. The hill also features a rope pull to reach the top of the hill, eliminating the climbing fatigue that can shorten even the best sledding adventures.
Zehr said the staff used a bulldozer to cut grooves into the hill after the first year of operation, and the result was an improved, faster track that requires less snow.
We only need about 6 inches of snow and we can open and have a great tubing hill, Zehr said.
Maple Ridge is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, and the hill can be reserved for private parties.