This Cleveland Tradition Involves Tobogganing at The Chalet

| © Aryeh Alex / Flickr
Laura Dorwart

Looking for some high-speed winter fun in Cleveland? You’re in luck: Visitors to The Chalet in nearby Strongsville have been tobogganing down its ice chutes for over 50 years.

The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation, just 30 minutes outside of Cleveland in Strongsville, OH, is home to one of the city’s most time-honored winter traditions: high-speed tobogganing down the tallest, fastest ice chutes in the state. Families flock to Cleveland’s Metroparks every winter season to plunge down two identical 700-foot refrigerated ice chutes at up to 50 miles per hour.

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In December 2017, The Chalet celebrated a major milestone: its 50th birthday! The toboggans at The Chalet, then known as Winter Funland, first opened in the 1967-1968 season. Cleveland is known for its winter traditions (the Christmas Story House and twinkling downtown lights, for example), and tobogganing in Strongsville is a local favorite.

The original park featured the world’s first refrigerated ice chutes, meaning they could stay open for business no matter the outdoor temperature. Today, the toboggans at The Chalet travel down the only refrigerated ice chutes in the state of Ohio. The system has undergone multiple repairs and renovations, including a full revamp in the 1980s and the addition of a toboggan lift in 2012.

The Chalet’s toboggans fit up to four people, and a specially designed landing slows the end of your ride to keep you safe. Still, riders say it’s a big thrill (and a bit scary)! Rides are around 5-6 seconds long, and a screen will let you know each rider’s time and speed so you can “race.”

Many parents remember tobogganing at The Chalet during their own childhoods fondly, bringing back future generations again and again each year. Over a single 16-week season, up to 38,000 people purchase tickets to go tobogganing at this local landmark.

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If you’re planning to go tobogganing at The Chalet, you can make your way towards an old-school adrenaline rush at the reservation between Routes 42 and 82, just off the Ohio Turnpike and I-71. Tobogganing season starts every year the day after Thanksgiving and lasts until early March. Toboggans are also available for private rentals and are a big hit for winter weddings and holiday parties.

Frequent “flyers” advise newbies to be ready for a long wait, as wait times can creep up to over three hours for a ride. But the surrounding wintry landscape is beautiful, and hot chocolate and snacks are available at a concessions stand. When you’re done tobogganing, you can warm up a bit at the outdoor fireplace or inside next to the Christmas tree.

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