Oh, chute!

Abbey Stirgwolt

Twin 700-foot toboggan slopes offer fast-paced, frigid fun in Strongsville

The view from the top of the Chalet, two identical 700-foot toboggan tracks, is an impressive sight. The Chalet is located in Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Ron Soltys

The Chalet is nestled at the foot of a snow-covered hill that is dotted with towering black trees and littered with fallen timber. A concave slope on one side of the building’s roof mirrors the curve of the toboggan chutes that level out a short distance from its entrance.

A steady stream of smoke rises above the building’s chimney and blends quickly into the steely gray sky above the treetops.

Indoors, a line of parka, stocking-hat and boot-clad customers extends through the small lobby, up a set of stairs and into the wood-paneled atrium of the building. Some of them clench dollar bills in their still-thawing hands as they stare at the yellow illuminated menu above the concession stand counter, trying to decide between a hot dog or a slice of pepperoni pizza.

It’s almost a typical ski lodge, but with no lift (riders must climb several flights of wooden stairs), no skis (rather, 10-foot long, 40-pound toboggans) and two 700-foot refrigerated chutes in place of snow-packed hills.


Sledders fly down the Chalet, which is part of the Cleveland Metroparks and is a popular winter activity.



-Thursdays, 6-10 p.m.

-Fridays, 6-10:30 p.m.

-Saturdays, noon-10:30 p.m.

-Sundays, noon-5 p.m.

Adult unlimited passes are $8

Single-ride passes are $3

The Chalet is open from the day after Thanksgiving through the end of February.

For more information or to make reservations,

call (440)572-9990.

Located in Strongsville, about an hour’s drive from campus, the Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation offers an alternative for students who are tired of lunch tray sledding, not in the mood to spring for a trip to Boston Mills and willing to withstand a bit of a wait for a trip down the hill.

The refrigerated toboggan chutes — the only ones in Ohio — are property of the Cleveland Metroparks. As of their creation in January 1967, the Chalet toboggan chutes were the first of their kind in the world.

“They were originally built by a gentleman because he said it looked like fun,” said Chalet manager Melissa Tirpak-Chylik.

Cleveland Metroparks took over the chutes in the late 1980s and has owned them since, she said.

Metroparks rebuilt the chutes about five years ago, Tirpak-Chylik said, and replaced the dated brine refrigeration system to diethylene glycol, a substance commonly used as coolant.

Current plans include installation of a lift system that will allow toboggans to be transported to the top of the chutes so riders won’t have to carry them.

The hour-long wait (which varies by day and time) and trek up the several flights of stairs — while lugging a 40-pound wooden sled — may not seem, to some, to be worth a 70-foot plunge that may not last as long as the walk from the parking lot to the ticket counter.

But guests who take time after the ride to remove soggy boots, rest their feet on the fireplace hearth and sip a cup of hot chocolate — maybe even share an order of cheesy fries — might appreciate the experience, if nothing else, for bit of nostalgia.

Contact features editor Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].