By Jelane A. Kennedy
It’s a sunny winter day in the Adirondacks and what better thing to do than head over to Dynamite Hill in Chester, New York to see the Krazy Downhill Derby! We have been exploring the little towns near Schroon Lake to learn what they have going on. Dynamite Hill is part of the Recreation Area for the Town of Chester. It is very easy to find off of Exit 25 on the Northway (I-87). The first thing you notice is a log cabin building that is the Visitor Center, we have yet to go in the last time we stopped it was not open and when we went to Krazy Day we were too busy enjoying the fun.
As you go up the driveway on the right is a tow for skiing and a hill used both for skiing and sledding. At the top of the driveway are parking and a covered ice rink and a building that houses a snack bar with a great porch overlooking the ski/sledding area. They also have a solar panel to help supply electricity, which I think is great.
Just to the right of the panel is a kiosk with information on the trails. There is a hiking trail integrated into the area, which is part of the Chester Challenge created in 2015 to encourage hiking in the area. As you look down below you can also see the set-up of a baseball diamond. The first time we visited they had a snow making machinate out staring to lay a base layer on the hill.
The area reminds me of where I grew up in Michigan. We had a small ski area in town too. It was not real big but a rope tow and a hill that we could ski down, not too difficult but just fun. It was a free and open to the town residents. It was great to come after school to play.
Krazy Downhill Derby had several local sponsors and was a family fun day for all, something we all need during the winter to help with the winter blues. The day started off with a Continental Breakfast, a Hockey shoot off and then broomball. Then there was a cardboard sled race for the little ones. The YMCA earlier in the week had sponsored a sled building night to get the ball rolling. (Yes there is a YMCA facility near by in Brant Lake just off Exit 25, Suzy Q restaurant was donated in 2016 to the YMCA of Glens Falls and they have been in the process of developing programing).
While all the activities were going on there was also a bonfire set up with marshmallow roasting and ice cream from Stewarts. In the snack bar they had hot dogs for sale along with a 50/50 and basket raffle with what look like some fun prizes. But the highlight of the day was the Derby!
There were 10-12 derby sleds. The sleds had to be homemade and non-motorized. Each sled could have a maximum of 4 riders. There had to be good steering and brakes. It cost $5.00 to enter a sled. What a great selection of fun rides, there was a long roadster, mailbox, little house, Noah’s ark, Pac man, outhouse, a sled that looked like a race car just to name a few. But our favorite was Orca! Each sled had to make it down the hill. Each one went down one at a time. Orca made it all the way down to the bottom of the hill and just at the end tipped over. It was so fun to watch all the derby sleds make the journey down! Great day, fun in the sun and it was nice to roast a marshmallow in the dead of winter outside on a bonfire – who knew!
© Jelane A. Kennedy & Eileen A. McFerran