Winter Tubing

Vail Tubing

Winter Tubing is such a memorable sport of years gone by.  Most of us baby boomers can reminisce about the wooden toboggan that raced down our local hill at break neck speeds–sometimes with us in it, sometimes navigation unmanned! No steering. No brakes. No helmet and no cares–but many a bump and bruise. Boy have times changed! The Vail Valley has re-imagined the traditional snow tubing and sledding experience, transforming our childhood tomfoolery into a well maintained, and safe winter playground–one fit for the entire family. The ridged sleds of yesteryear have been replaced with comfortable, winter specific tubes and steering is now influenced by walled tracks that keep our “rocket ship” safely in its own lane. Of course, some things (the important stuff) haven’t changed.  The less timid are still encouraged to push their speed a bit more each time, and smiles are still uncontrollable!  And like any good mid afternoon tubing session, wipe-outs are often met with laughter, wet bottoms and the high-five stamp of approval.

Haymaker Tubing Hill at Beaver Creek

Haymaker Tubing HillAn aura of relaxation and comfort is scented throughout Beaver Creek, and your tubing experience at the Haymaker Tubing Hill promises to be no different.  Access to the hill is a delight via the Buckaroo Gondola on the eastern base of Beaver Creek.  A heated gondola ride up will keep you warm while your children energetically command the machine to ascend faster.

Editor’s Note:

If your children are anything like mine, (8 year old daughter, 10 year old son) a day of skiing does not drain their batteries. Contrary to any common sense or scientific study, they are actually more energetic in the afternoon. The Haymaker Tubing hill is a great place for us to apres’ as a family. The tubing is fun for the kids, and the heated gondola ride keeps the wife and I sane!

Things to know before you go

  1. Beaver Creek Tubing is open to the public, and open 7 days a week, from 1 pm to dusk (Dec. 17, 2011-April 3, 2012).
  2. Riders must be at least 36 inches tall.
  3. Helmet and winter clothing is suggested by The Parents Handbook.
  4. Access the Haymaker Tubing hill via the Buckaroo gondola at the base of the Beaver Creek resort, in front of the Park Hyatt hotel.
  5. Phone (970) 754-5368, or visit www.beavercreek.com.

Adventure Ridge on Vail Mountain

Vail Ski resort has created a masterpiece in family fun with the tubing hill at Adventure Ridge. Located at the top of the Vail Mountain gondola, the tubing hill truly is state of the art family fun. The facilities are open as early as 10:30 am, however it is most popular in the afternoon–a 4pm ride up the Lionshead Gondola will greet you with a magnificent sunset view of the surrounding mountains. As the name would imply, Adventure Ridge has a good selection of family fun options including mini snowmobiles for the kids and ski biking but tubing is the main focus. There are 8 tubing lanes, each with a slightly different pitch and route: 4 for the beginners and 4 for the experts. Although all children are self-proclaimed experts (in tubing as well as everything else!), The Parents Handbook recommends starting on the smaller hills and working your way up.

Editor’s Note:

If the crowds are not too big, it’s easy to set up a family race. There is usually a photographer on site, and it’s fun to have a “photo finish” souvenir for the refrigerator back home. Be sure to do best of three. Also, consider bringing a bag and put your cell phone in it…Landing on your side might leave an iPhone bruise!

Things to know before you go

  1. Go early if possible, less people means more rides, but consider the views at sunset!
  2. Bundle up!  If you were skiing that same day, be sure to change your socks and first layer thermals.
  3. Helmets and goggles are recommend by The Parents Handbook but not required.
  4. Hot chocolate and dining options are available in the gondola building; at the Bistro fourteen restaurant (ask for Sweeny as your waiter or bartender).
  5. Open December 14, 2011 – April 14, 2012
  6. Tuesday – Saturday 10:30am – 7:00pm
  7. Sunday and Monday 10:30am – 4:30pm
  8. Call (970) SKI-VAIL, or visit www.vail.com for more information.

Meadow Mountain Tubing Hill in Minturn

Just down the road for the world class ski resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek, sits the old town of Minturn Colorado. Long before Vail and Beaver Creek were household names, Minturn started as a railroad stop between the bustling mining town of Leadville and the West Coast.

Operating at a much slower pace than it up-scale neighbors, Minturn has a swagger of its own. Taking a break from skiing and snowboarding, we encourage you to visit the tubing hill in Minturn. Unlike its lesser known cousins up the street, the Meadow Mountain Tubing Hill is just slightly off the beaten track and perfect for my family to enjoy the beautiful blue skies, and casual surrounding. But don’t worry, you won’t have to walk up each time, Meadow Mountain has a specifically designed rope-tow to pull you and your sled up the hill.

Once done for the day, consider continuing on 3 miles south Minturn proper. There you’ll find a very quaint town full of eclectic shops (small business only) and restaurants.

Editor’s Note:

If you have the time, be sure to check out The Turntable restaurant who flaunts the best breakfast

Photo Credit:
Jack Affleck