Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Totally Tubular - Winter Sports Version

Sometime back in January while watching the kids sled down our back hill, narrowly missing the deck supports and wiping out bushes along the way, I thought that maybe there could be a better venue for sledding. Something less heart-attack inducing, perhaps.

While a quick shift across the street to the walking path (which is free of obstacles, yet sends the children hurtling into the street) was sort of an upgrade, I began to research options.

Finally we settled on a trip to Blue Mountain Ski Area for tubing. We originally thought we would go over our extended President's Day weekend. However, there were some scheduling issues (mostly that they weren't open until it would have been getting dark) and we had to bump the trip to this past Sunday.

We went with our neighbors, who have kids about the same age as ours, plus a 3 year old. When we woke up in the morning, things were looking pretty gray. The weather people were promising that it wouldn't last, so we set off on our adventure.

The trip was shorter than we anticipated, about 90 minutes from our place. We managed to miss all of the McDonald's options on the way there and decided lunch in the lodge was the easiest (although surely not most economical) option. I think the kids were too excited to eat, though. They were ready to GO!

Tickets for Sunday were $25 per person for a 4 1/2 hour mid-day window of time. Rates vary for different time periods. I figured we were unlikely to make it more than 2 or 3 hours, as it was still drizzling a little bit when we started out.

There are two types of tubes. Big, family-style ones that hold up to 4 adults (we managed to get 4 kids and 2 adults in and sneak past), and single-person tubes.

The lift for the family tubes is easier to negotiate, since you sit in the tube and a big hook drags you up the hill. The lift for the individual tubers is like a huge conveyor belt where you stand on the belt and drag your tube behind. Very tricky to stand on a conveyor belt going up a hill with nothing to hold onto! Entertaining (in a wrong-ish sort of way) to watch the kids stumbling around the first few times.

The most dramatic moment was Tater falling out of the tube on the way up the family lift....dragging along behind the tube and laughing. I had to haul him back in while my friend held my feet so I wouldn't also fall out. Very exciting!

We split our time between the two types. The kids and Dads seemed more into the single tubes, which can go quite a bit faster and can be strapped together to make 2 or 3 person "pods". There are starters at the top of each run that make sure no one gets run over, and they can give you a good spin at the start, which the kids LOVED.

I personally preferred the family-style. A little less kamikaze-ish, yet still exciting enough for me!

About 45 minutes into the tubing, the sun came out and things warmed up a bit and it was absolutely beautiful out (and yet, still quite cold!) We took a break after about 2 1/2 hours for snacks and thawing and then went back and continued to ride until the end of the session. So we did the full 4 1/2 hours!! Outside! In the cold! And it was SO FUN!!

The kids are asking if next time we can try skiing. And in theory, I suppose that is do-able. Yet I have flashbacks to skiing with my post-college friends and actually falling off of the trail. Into the woods. Like, hanging from a branch...skis dangling.

And while part of me wishes I was cool enough to snowboard - I know I totally am not. And my poor old-lady back wouldn't make it through an attempt.

So maybe I will just stick with the tubing. Low-injury potential. Nearly impossible to go off-course. No falling. Just fun.



James-H said...

This sounds awesome. When you tube down the Brandywine (or the Brazos, down here in Texas) you can rent a tube for your booze. Any such option on Blue Mountain? A party tube?

Fun Mommy K said... :( But the tubes go so fast down the mountain there wouldn't be time to even sip anything. And there is a nice lodge with a coffee bar...I didn't see a real bar, but that could be good!