Snow tubing is one of the newest rages in winter recreation sports.
The concept of snow tubing is simple: take an inner tube to the top of
a snow-covered hill and ride it down. It's similar to tobogganing, but
with extra perks when it is offered at ski resorts and spas.
The tube safely follows a set course, so tubers do not slide all over a
hill. Even better, specially designed lift systems pull participants back
to the top of the hill so they don't have to walk up to tube again. Tubers
can sit on their tubes and get pulled to the hilltop with a special towrope.
Zipping down snowy hills, participants ride covered inner tubes. Tubing
offers the excitement of skiing or snowboarding, but it is much less expensive
and does not require any athletic ability or special equipment.
Snow tubing is said to be safer than skiing and many other winter sports.
Most hills have limited snow-tubing sessions to control demand and traffic
so tubers can get the most out of their sessions.
Tubing runs are typically supervised at the top and the bottom to prevent
collisions. There are other tubing restrictions as well. Children who aren't
at least four feet tall usually are not permitted to slide. At most resorts,
only one person per tube is allowed.
Tubers quickly discover that they can go faster when they link up in trains
of four and five tubes. For safety reasons, this is not always allowed on
all tubing runs.
Regular tubers also quickly discover that how fast they zip down the hill
depends on the weather. Colder weather creates snow that is icier, which allows
the tube to travel quicker down the hill. Warmer weather brings the opposite
effect, slowing the tubes down on melting snow.
Cost and safety factors have made snow tubing extremely popular with non-skiers
who go with skiers to resorts. Tubing has also enabled ski resort owners to
offer a variety of activities for their visitors.
"I felt there was a need to have additional activities to the skiing and
boarding product," says Hans Edblad. He is the general manager of a tube park.
Tubing runs are popping up throughout the country at ski resorts.
"I would encourage anyone to get involved in the sport, especially anyone
who is looking for something fun to do during the wintertime," says Marianne
Corso. She is the marketing director for a resort that offers tubing facilities.
"This is a sport that requires no skill, just a desire for fun and adventure."
No special training is needed to tube. It's a winter sport for people
of all ages and abilities.
Prices vary at locations where tubing is offered. Costs can range anywhere
from $8 to $15 for two-hour tickets. All-day, family and group rates are often
available as well.
The inner tubes are rented at the resorts and the cost is included in the
ticket to tube. It's easier to rent these tubes than invest the money
to buy your own.
Proper winter clothing, particularly warm, good fitting boots, is a must
when snow tubing. Snow tubers should dress warmly in layers, with a waterproof
jacket and pants. A winter hat, sunglasses or goggles, as well as sunscreen
for face and lips, are also highly recommended.
Many seasonal or year-round job opportunities exist involving snow tubing.
Available jobs could include those as a cook, lift operator, cashier or rental
gear attendant. People also can earn money by grooming the slopes at resorts.
With snow tubing continuing as a hot winter craze, high-tech equipment
and more varied runs are sure to follow. This can only create more job opportunities
and more fun for snow tubers in the future.
Tube Town Adventure Park
A snow-tubing facility
Snow Tubing at Seven Springs Resort
Gives a good explanation of snow tubing