Going Downhill Fast—On Cardboard

Cardboard sled races in Long Lake. Photograph courtesy of Alexandra Roalsvig

Buried under a blizzard of boxes after winter mail-order shopping sprees? Rather than pile up the corrugated sheets to molder until ice-out, crafty Adirondackers have made cardboard the latest sporting-equipment component. Add a few dozen yards of duct tape (which now comes in everything from zebra stripes and leopard spots to purple, hot pink and turquoise) and you’ve got something that can go downhill fast.

December 26 was Boxing Day, but around here there are five boxing days on the 2014 calendar—the cardboard-sled racing circuit. The first was January 18, on Long Lake’s Mount Sabattis. Designs ranged from a miniature Army Jeep to a red-tailed hawk to a frying pan with two kids on board dressed as bacon and eggs. Electrician Bob Lewin, piloting “Daddy’s Folly,” holds the tournament crown from last year, and his super simple, streamlined tray was victorious in this first round.

Long Lake featured many heats of sliding, with groups of three in each flight. Getting to the bottom first determined the winner; judges also named design awards. In past years, notable sleds have included seaplanes, pirate ships and even a scale-model UPS truck, with riders wearing official brown caps.

Four races remain in February and March, and series winners for kids, teens and adults will be declared based on points earned from the contests listed below. Along with bragging rights, there’s a decent cash purse for the overall champion.

Sunday, February 16: Indian Lake WinterFest
Redneck Cardboard & Duct Tape Sled Race at the town ski hill off Route 30 begins at 1:00 p.m. (518) 648-5828,

Sunday, February 16: Old Forge Winter Carnival
Races at McCauley Mountain start at 3:00 p.m. (877) OLD-FORGE,

Saturday, February 22: Inlet Frozen Fire and Lights
Races at Fern Park begin at 1:00 p.m. (866)GO INLET,

Saturday, March 1: Speculator
Oak Mountain hosts the season finale at 1:00 p.m. (518)548-3606,

Participants must compete in three out of five races to qualify for the series title, and racers must use the same sleds regardless of condition. All ages are welcome, but only one champion will be named. Home rules apply to each individual race.

No pre-registration is necessary. All race time starts are subject to change without notice.


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