When snow blankets the hills surrounding Glimmerglass Lake, the state park becomes a winter playground.
The activities range from ice fishing to snow tubing, and many people in surrounding counties take advantage of free admission to the park.
On a recent Saturday, after a heavy snow fall, dozens of people rented tubes and raced down the hill at the snow tubing park.
Maria Senk of Cooperstown brought her 5-year-old daughter, Ava, to the snow tubing hill.
“She went down for the very first time by herself,” Senk said. “It was very exciting. We are having a lot of fun.”
The tubing area has two sizes of rubber inner tubes – large and small. Adults may double up with smaller children.
The cost for renting a tube for the day is $5. The two snow tubing tracks are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting. Sleds and personal tubes are not allowed on the snow tubing hill.
“We weren’t here last year, but the year before we came a lot,” said Russ Kissinger of West Winfield, who brought his family to enjoy a day of snow tubing.
The tubing track is groomed with a snowmobile and then surfaced by state park employees who ride down the two tracks before it is opened to the public. Five state park employees — four on the clock and one seasonal volunteer — manage the snow tubing park.
Two attendants wait at the top of the hill for visitors to make the steep climb. They instruct each rider as to the correct procedure for leaving the track — and then the attendant pushes the rider over the crest of the hill.
Midway down the hill there are orange cones marking a ‘no walking zone.’ An attendant stands between the cones to ensure the safety of all snow tubers.