Do you remember the first time you really played in the snow?
The sheer joy of ascending a hill, jumping on a sled or inner tube, racing back down the slope — often in bumping and tumbling manner — and laughing and screeching the entire way?
And repeating the process the whole day long before heading home for a warm cup of cocoa?
Well, you can relive your youth — or experience the fun for the first time — at a number of ski resorts across North America that have tubing hills on the premises.
Most of these facilities take a lot of the drudgery out of tubing — such as trudging and sometimes post-holing up a hill — with magic carpets and/or mighty mite tows and eliminate a lot of risks, such as trees, boulders and the occasional creek or pond at run’s end, with designated and manicured lanes.
They are relatively inexpensive — about $20-$40 per 1- or 2-hour session — and they are guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of children of all ages. Tubing is also a great way to apres with your friends and family; or decompress with a day off the slopes and in the park.
Here’s a look at a few of them:
The Poconos of Pennsylvania are the site of the largest tubing hill in North America, with 42 lanes, served by two magic carpets, spread across the base of Camelback Mountain. Sessions are two hours long, and you can apres ski at the park when the lanes come aglow with Galactic Tubing.
What’s with big tubing hills in Pennsylvania? Blue Mountain’s park has 34 lanes — up to 1,000 feet long — and three up-hill conveyers to get back to the top. Sessions run on weeknights and weekend days.
With 16 lanes — some up to 900 feet long with a 120-foot vertical drop — and three lifts, Massanutten has the largest tubing hill in Virginia.
Wisconsin’s largest tubing hill is at Wilmot Mountain, where you’ll find a designated park away from the ski resort that has 22 lanes up to 1,000 feet long, two magic carpets and its own day lodge.
Mt. Hood Ski Bowl
You’ll find Oregon’s Extreme Tube Hill at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl, which has lanes for singles, double and partyers. It’s only open on weekends and holidays, and it really comes alive when the sun goes down and 600,000 LED lights and a laser light show brighten up a wintry night.
The SnoVentures Activity Zone at the Olympic Valley portion of California’s Palisades Tahoe comes alive with Disco Tubing — LEDs, lasers and DJs — on select evenings. When the party’s not happening you can still tube daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A ride up Keystone’s gondola will give you a Colorado mountain high, and you can sustain it at the mountaintop Adventure Point tubing. While Keystone’s main tubing hill has a minimum size requirement (an industry standard 42-inches tall), there’s another locale at the resort dedicated for the smaller kids only.
The bubly Tube Park at the base of Blackcomb Mountain in British Columbia has seven lanes ranging from gentle mini-slopes to exhilarating fast lanes. The park is open daily until 6 p.m.
Perhaps the most scenic tubing venue in North America with panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies crest and the namesake lake can be found at Sunny Tube Park at Lake Louise in Alberta.