You've tried skiing, mountain biking, tobogganing and snowboarding, but have you ever gone tubing? Snow tubing is rapidly becoming a favorite winter sport for many people. Think of it as a pepped-up variant of the old flying saucers, only that this time it’s much better. Imagine sliding down a snow-covered hill at exhilaratingly spine-tingling speeds! Tubing is a great sport because unlike skiing or snowboarding, no special skills or equipment are required, so the whole family can have a blast together.
What is tubing?
Tubing is basically sledding down a slope while the rider sits on a specially designed vinyl tube that has been inflated with air. No prior lessons are required; you simply sit on your cushion and off you go! When you reach the bottom, you can either ride a lift or ask to be towed back to the top. Unlike sledding, you won’t have to walk to the top. The tubing parks usually have several lanes with snow-built walls to ensure that the tube slides down a pre-defined direction. This helps to avoid collisions with other riders while ensuring no steering is required. Snow tubing is a great family or group sport because the multiple lanes allow riders to race each other in a safe environment. Some resorts and tubing parks have large family-sized tubes so that a whole family can have great fun while hurtling down on one huge cushion.
How fast is it?
The speed on the lanes depends on several factors. When the hill is in optimal condition, the speeds hover around the 20mph mark. When temperatures fall below zero, the hill is usually fastest, and snowgroomers may be used to intentionally slow down the runs. Riders are also advised to spread their weight so as not to touch the bottom of the tube. This technique generates more speed.
What should I wear?
Tubing is cool because no special gear is required. Simply put on layers of warm clothes to make it easier to adjust your body temperature and sweating. Wear long underwear, gloves, hat, jacket and snow pants. Cotton should be avoided because it absorbs and traps sweat and precipitation, creating a cold capsule around your body. Waterproof shoes and hiking boots are recommended. Depending on the weather at the mountain, carry some sunscreen to protect your skin and eyes from excessive sun exposure.
Which are the best tubing venues?
Most ski resorts have tubing parks because non-skiers go there as well. Look for tubing parks that have multiple lanes so that you and your friends can have fun together. Some parks have as many as 20 lanes so you won’t ride the same lane twice. Now is the time to go outdoors and have fun in the snow. It’s the best fun you could ever have while sitting down. You’ll not even have to trudge through the snow walking back up the hill. With snow tubing, it’s no work and more fun. Don’t forget to carry your camera and/or camcorder to capture the wonderful moments!